In Memory of David Wilkerson

By   •   April 29, 2011

Wilkerson, 79, died after his car collided with a tractor-trailer on a highway about 95 miles southeast of Dallas, according to The Associated Press. His wife, Gwen, was also injured but is expected to recover.

The pastor’s family issued a statement that appeared on the Wilkerson’s World Challenge website. “We appreciate your prayers and our hearts are sorrowful, yet we rejoice at the joy of knowing David Wilkerson spent his life well,” the statement said.

Wilkerson was known most for his outreach to street gangs, which he started after viewing a photo in Life magazine of New York City teens charged with murder. He wrote the popular book The Cross and the Switchblade and founded New York’s Times Square Church.

The 1970 movie version of “The Cross and the Switchblade” was produced by Dick Ross, who previously worked for BGEA’s World Wide Pictures.

Wilkerson also founded Teen Challenge, a ministry to young gang members and drug addicts, in New York in 1959. In 1963, he co-authored his best-selling story, which Christianity Today magazine listed in 2006 in the No. 32 spot on its “Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.”

At present the Wilkerson family has requested a private family funeral in Texas.

The official memorial service will be held at Times Square Church in New York City within the next two weeks. The service will be streamed live on the Times Square Church website.

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  1. carrie says:

    I loved the movie “The Cross and the Switchblade.” It has been several years since I have seen it. I am going to read the book and several of his books, if I can find them. I love reading about how people met Christ and how he changed their lives.

  2. Cindy says:

    Just found out that he wrote The Cross and the Switchblade. I was born again after seeing it when I was a twelve year old and am now 56. What an influence this man has had upon me.

  3. Adam says:

    Thanks be to almighty God for the life of of David, who it would seem was devoted to Him and our Lord. It is true that we are not saved through our works, but are known by the fruits of our labour; I'm certain that David will be welcomed home as a good and faithful servant.

  4. Sharon says:

    My life has been enriched, encouraged and strengthened because of your dedication and faithfulness to the written word. Your anointed words have reached deep into my heart and challenged and changed me.

  5. Sandey says:

    So sad to read this news, as a teenager I was greatly challenged by the book and movie The Cross and the Switchblade! We can grieve in hope – he is forever with the Lord now. (South Africa)

    1. Dorcas says:

      Good Evening, After seeing The Cross and the Switch Blade. in 1972 I became a Christian.I also received a mirical for my mother’s health that night.Thank you Billy Graham. David Wilkerson and Nicki Cruze. I LOVE ALL OF YOU