Wilkerson's sermons are known for being direct and frank. He emphasizes Christian beliefs, such as: God's holiness and righteousness, God's love towards humans and especially Christian views of Jesus. Wilkerson tries to avoid categorizing Christians into distinct groups according to the parish they belong to, and as such he is considered by many to be a truly ecumenical evangelist.
David Wilkerson's Life
Reverend Wilkerson served as pastor in small churches in Scottsdale and Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, until he saw a photograph in Life magazine of several New York City teenagers charged with murder. As he felt the Holy Ghost to move him with compassion, he was drawn to New York in February 1959. It was then that he began his street ministry to underpriviledged inner-city youth.
David Wilkerson is well known for these early years of his ministry to young drug addicts and gang members in New York City in 1950's and 1960's. During that time, David Wilkenson was instrumental in Nicky Cruz's decision to accept God into his life. Wilkenson co-authored a book about Cruz's life; "The Cross and the Switchblade", which became a best-seller. The book has sold over 10 million copies in over thirty languages since it was published in 1963. The book was also released as a Hollywood movie in 1969 under the same title.
In 1969, David Wilkerson founded Teen Challenge ministries, which has reached youth and adults with life-controlling problems worldwide through its centers. The ministry's biblically based recovery program for drug addicts has been recognized as one of the most effective efforts of its kind.
In 1967, David Wilkerson began Youth Crusades, an evangelistic ministry that was aimed to reach teenagers whom David Wilkerson called "goodniks" middle-class youth who were restless and bored. A vision of that work was to prevent them from being seduced into a life of bondage to drugs, alcohol, or violence. Through this ministry, CURE Corps (Collegiate Urban Renewal Effort) was founded. That can be considered as a Christian alternative to the Peace Corps and VISTA.
In 1971, David Wilkerson's ministry moved its headquarters to Texas, where he founded World Challenge. The ministry's mission is to promote and spread the message of Christ through public teachings.
In 1986, while walking down 42nd Street in New York City at midnight, David Wilkerson felt that the Holy Ghost called him to return to New York City and to raise up a ministry in Times Square. Subsequently, this resulted in the establishment of the Times Square Church. The church opened its doors in October 1987, first in rented auditoriums in Times Square. Later it moved to the historic Mark Hellinger Theater, which the ministry purchased in 1989 and in which it has operated ever since.
For over four decades, David Wilkerson's ministry. has included preaching, teaching and writing. He has authored over 30 books including,
- The Cross and the Switchblade,
- The Vision, Revival on Broadway,
- Hungry For More of Jesus,
- Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately?, and
- The New Covenant Unveiled.
Since the 1990's, David Wilkerson has focused his efforts to encourage pastors and their families throughout the world to "renew their passion for Christ". In his own words:
"I've been an evangelist for 50 years, but I didn't want to preach to pastors until I had gray hair, until I'd pastored. Now after 15 years of pastoring, sharing the hurts, pains, and difficulties of the ministry as a pastor, I felt the Lord finally release me, that I might have something to say."
David Wilkerson and his wife Gwen live in New York City. They have four children and 11 grandchildren. Also his son Gary Wilkerson has begun to gain fame as a Christian minister and evangelist.
David Wilkerson's Website: http://www.davidwilkerson.org/
Times Square Church http://www.timessquarechurch.org/
World Challenge http://www.worldchallenge.org/
Teen Challenge http://www.teenchallenge.com/