Teen Challenge started in Brooklyn, New York in 1958 by Rev. David Wilkerson.
Wilkerson was a young country preacher pastoring a church in eastern Pennsylvania. One February afternoon, Wilkerson read an article in LIFE magazine about seven teenagers who were on trial for murder. During a gang fight in Manhattan, these teens beat a young man to death. Troubled by what he read in the article, and sensing God wanted him to do something for the teens, Wilkerson made a trip from his hometown in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania to the urban area of New York City.
Some time after this, Rev. Wilkerson resigned his church in Pennsylvania and moved to the New York City area to work full time with teenage gang members. This new work was eventually called “Teen Challenge.” Soon, Teen Challenge began to also offer help to those addicted to drugs and alcohol, no matter their ages.
During these early years, a large home was obtained on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn. A year-long residential discipleship program was started in this facility. This Teen Challenge program is still helping people change their lives in today! Due to its success, residential Teen Challenge centers began cropping up in cities all across America.
Teen Challenge has grown into one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind in the world.
The Teen Challenge (TC) discipleship model is an effective, proven, faith-based solution for the drug epidemic. In 1958, the first Teen Challenge center was established in New York City to work with inner-city youth wanting a life that did not involve gangs and drugs. Evangelism and discipleship have always been the core of the Teen Challenge program.
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