In the midst of tornadoes all over the South and lots of excitement (at our house anyway) about the royal wedding tomorrow, I woke up this morning to hear that one of my heroes, David Wilkerson, died in a car accident yesterday. He is the author of The Cross & the Switchblade, a book that greatly affected me, along with Run Baby Run, written by Nicky Cruz, and Second Chance by Israel Narvaez. Both Cruz and Narvaez were friends of David Wilkerson and some of his early converts.
According to his bio, David Wilkerson was an Assemblies of God preacher in a little country church, who left to minister to gang members on the streets of New York. His work there eventually grew into Teen Challenge, a ministry that is still thriving today. On their website, they say: "The family of Teen Challenge USA is immeasurably saddened today at the loss of our founder, Rev. David Wilkerson. Rev. Wilkerson was killed in a car accident in which his wife, Gwen, was also injured and is in serious condition. “Brother Dave” was used by God in 1958 to reach out to gang members in New York City. Through that singular act of obedience, tens of thousands of those bound by drug, alcohol and other addictions have found freedom through Jesus Christ–there are 233 centers in the US, and 1187 total worldwide, providing help to as many as 25,000 people needing deliverance through the power of God."
Though I never met him or heard him speak, I was greatly influenced by this man's life and ministry--he is a big part of why I went to Moody Bible Institute and hold a degree in Urban Ministries.
I'm thrilled he's in heaven now and pray for his wife and family. Here is David Wilkerson's last blog post, dated yesterday.