Teen Challenge

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Teen Challenge is an organization founded 1958 by David Wilkerson, an evangelist in the Assemblies of God church.

His book, The Cross and the Switchblade,[1] tells of how he left his small-town Pennsylvania church at the urging of God, to try to reach teenage members of gangs in New York City with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The book is also in part about the born-again conversion of former gang member Nicky Cruz, and in part about how Teen Challenge came to be founded.

Today, there are two Teen Challenge organizations, Teen Challenge USA headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, and Global Teen Challenge headquartered in Columbus, Georgia. Teen Challenge USA is affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination; Global Teen Challenge is a separate organization and is non-denominational. Teen Challenge works on drug and alcohol recovery and outreach to at-risk youth such as gang members.


  1. Wilkerson, David. The Cross and the Switchblade. 1963