The History of Teen Challenge
In Feburary of 1958, David Wilkerson and young preacher from Pennsylvania, sat in his study reading a copy of LIFE magazine. Turning the page, he saw a drawing of a trial taking place in New York City, involving seven gang members accused of murder.
Putting his faith in action, Wilkerson traveled to Manhattan to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the teenage defendants. As the trial ended he rushed to the front of the court room and pleaded for an audience with the judge. He was ejected from the court room with orders to never return. This made the headlines as the Bible teacher who interrupted the gang trail. In 1960, David Wilkerson founded the first Teen challenge program to reach gang members and drug addicts with a message of hope.
The History Of Teen Challenge Dallas
In September, of 1962, Dave Wilkerson visited Southwestern to preach at a chapel service, and in Howard's words, "he shut down the campus." So many students responded to Dave's altar call and began praying for repentance, the college canceled classes so they could spend the day in prayer. Suddenly, the campus was galvanized for the kind of street ministry that Dave had described. More than 100 students attended Howard and Pat's next Action Night, along with 50 church members from the Dallas area.
It quickly became clear that to retain the Christian converts who struggled with life-controlling problems, some form of long-term discipleship program was necessary. So in 1963, four married couples Howard and Par Foltz, Billy and Sue Burr, Eugene and Carolyn Hunt, Irvin and Linda Rutherford moved in together, pooled their salaries, and used the savings to start a Teen Challenge center in Dallas, Texas.
In 1982, Paul and Linda Ecker moved from Springfield, Missouri, to lead the Adult & Teen Challenge of Dallas. Their faithful leadership helped the Dallas Teen Challenge program to grow exponentially. Under their faithful leadership and servanthood they were able to purchase the current location in Desoto, TX. This location previously was a nursing home that was remodeled to the current facilities of Adult and Teen Challenge. Paul led this project and our facilities are some of the best in the Nation. We are so grateful for their investment in the kingdom of God, and serving ATCD for over 40 years. Thank you Paul and Linda Ecker!