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Remembering David Wilkerson          

    David Wilkerson was the founder of Teen Challenge. What a blessing his life was to so many people. His influence lives on through the global ministry of Teen Challenge, The Cross and the Switchblade, and his many other writings.    David Wilkerson was killed in a car accident age 79 (27th April 2011).

  The following text is from "Leadership Link from Global Teen Challenge" where you can Sign Up For a free Leadership Email Newsletter

From the perspective of a former staff member and family friend.

By Jerry Nance PhD, President, Global Teen Challenge    

David Wilkerson preaching in  New York City Mid 1980's 

As a 16 year old youth I attended a David Wilkerson Crusade with no idea that within a few years I would be serving on his staff in Lindale, Texas. I graduated Bible College at the age of 21 and was working as a youth pastor when the leadership team of David Wilkerson asked me to serve as a teacher in the Twin Oaks Leadership Academy and to serve as an assistant on the David Wilkerson Crusade team.  Twin Oaks was the Teen Challenge staff training facility developed by David Wilkerson. It was such a joy to work with some of the greatest leaders I had ever had the privilege of meeting.

 

One of the joys of working with Brother Dave was knowing that you were working for someone who truly sought God for direction. Brother Dave was always spiritually focused and passionate about what he was hearing from God.  The staff knew that Brother Dave had the discipline of studying late into the night and when you did see him, he would have a fresh fire in his heart from the Lord.

 

David Wilkerson preaching

I believe David Wilkerson truly lived his life getting to know Jesus. He heard clearly from the Lord in his prayer closet, back stage before speaking to thousands, and standing on the street talking to gang members.

 

I remember one day when God spoke directly through Brother Dave while we were doing a street outreach in Union Square park in Manhattan, NY.  The park was filled with gang members, drug dealers, prostitutes and onlookers who came to hear the music group 2nd Chapter of Acts. The crowd of several hundred had gathered and David Wilkerson with boldness took the microphone and delivered a message of hope in Christ. He could connect with the crowd in seconds and preach the power of Jesus to change lives.

 

He looked at one woman that day in the crowd and began to speak to her about her life and the life of her son. He said, "You have spent a lifetime trying to help your son. He is a drug addict and he has broken your heart. You have done everything in your power to help him but to no avail. Jesus is going to change his life." The woman dropped to her knees saying, "How do you know these things? I don't know you." With tears running down her face she began to call on the Lord. She made a commitment to Christ. Hundreds came to the altar for salvation that day.

 

As a young Christian leader, my life was being impacted. I saw faith in action in so many areas. I worked on a team who served our leader and who partnered in the victories at the altars each night of the crusades. I witnessed Brother Dave give vehicles to missionaries, support families who were headed out on missionary assignments and saw him manage the call of God on his life to deliver what God had called him to do.

 

He was humble, never sought attention from the press, "never chased headlines." He was focused on one thing-winning people to Jesus.

 

When I look now at how this man of God was used over his lifetime, I can only describe it in two

                                                             David Wilkerson praying with converts

words, "Simple Obedience." He simply obeyed God and lived his life to the fullest to please the Lord and to introduce others to the Lord he loved. David Wilkerson carried the flame of the Lord and finished well.

 

Now the responsibility passes on to you and to me. Each of us as Teen Challenge leaders now share in the responsibility of taking what our founder modeled for us and living it out in our lives. We must carry the torch on to the next generation with the same passion for souls. We must pray and study with the same kind of intensity if we hope to make a lasting impact on our sphere of influence. The kind of impact David Wilkerson made with his life came with self-discipline, pure faith, passion, and a lot of hard work.

 

David Wilkerson fought the good fight of faith, he finished his course, he kept the faith. Now it is up to us!

 

May God grant us the grace to measure up when we finish our race.