Teen Challenge Founder, David Wilkerson, Killed in Car Accident


Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 11:34 PM

David Wilkerson, founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York City and author of the well-known book The Cross and the Switchblade, was killed Wednesday in a head-on collision in Texas. He was 79.

"It is with deepest of sadness that we have to inform you of the sudden passing of Reverend David Wilkerson, our founding pastor," Times Square Church Senior Pastor Carter Conlon said in a statement on thechurch website.

Conlon added that details of the family's wishes and a memorial service would be provided as information became available.

Crash Details

Wilkerson was driving east on U.S. 175 in Texas Wednesday afternoon, and moved into the opposite lane where a tractor trailer was driving westbound. The truck driver saw the car and tried to move out of the way, but still collided with the pastor's car head on, according to Public Safety Trooper Eric Long. 

It's unclear what caused Wilkerson to veer into the other lane.  His wife Gwen was also involved in the crash and rushed to the hospital, along with the truck driver.

Wilkerson was pronounced dead on the scene.

Last Words

Wilkerson posted a blog dated April 27 — the day of his death. In the post, titled "When All Means Fail," he encouraged those facing difficulty to "hold fast" and stand strong in faith.

"To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights, and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, "I am with you,'" Wilkerson wrote. "Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail-his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world."

Read all of Wilkerson's final blog here.

Word of the accident began to spread Wednesday night on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Christians urged prayer for Mrs. Wilkerson, who's in critical condition. 

Wilkerson's Impact

Wilkerson's cousin Rich Wilkerson confirmed the death on Twitter.

"It is confirmed my dear cousin David Wilkerson lost his life in a tragic car accident this afternoon..Prayers are needed at this time," he tweeted.

Wilkerson spent the early part of his ministry reaching out to gang members and drug addicts in New York, as told in his bestselling book The Cross and the Switchblade.

"The term LEGEND is often used to describe a person of extreme influence but what about a man that supersedes superlatives..david wilkerson," his cousin tweeted right after confirming his death. 

In 1971, he started World Challenge, Inc. as an umbrella for his crusades, conferences, evangelism and other ministry. The Times Square Church was founded under the group in 1987.

The church is now led by Carter Conlon and has more than 8,000 members.

Wilkerson also founded Teen Challenge, a Christian outreach program for troubled young people.

"Please remember the Wilkerson family in your prayers as our founder, Rev. David Wilkerson, went to be with the Lord this evening," Teen Challenge told Twitter followers.

He is survived by his wife, four children and 11 grandchildren.



One reply on “Teen Challenge Founder, David Wilkerson, Killed in Car Accident”

David Wilkerson, in the last moments of his life made the same decision of self-sacrifice as Samson did.
His actions if they could be translated into words would say this, "I'm going, but I am taking you all with me."  Jesus warned us to beware of the two pillars of hell that would stand in the future church. They are, the doctrine of the Pharisees and the doctrine of the Saduccees. The Pharisees believed that righteousness was an external, outward thing, like big titles, so called anointings, rituals and public demonstrations of righteousness, like the pathetic music ministries.
The Saduccees, on the other hand, did not believe in the resurrection which would effectively consign every believer to be without the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit.
The glue that pins these "two pillars of hell together" is MONEY! Lots of Money!
David Wilkerson inadvertantly allowed his church to be penetrated stealthily but he realised this. Read his blogs (if they don't take them down) and you will feel the achings of a broken man.
Led by the Spirit of God, David took one last blow at the powers of darkness and believe me, it has been a mighty blow. He has exposed darkness in the church like no other before him. I can hear the man-made ministries crumbling as the people desert them and wake up.
His sermons will be read and re-read many more times than during his life and his prophecies will come to pass just as he said.
I knew David Wilkerson personally and am even more humbled by his great contribution to the kingdom than ever before.
The pillars are falling and Times Square will be the first to go.

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