What is Adult and Teen Challenge?
The ministry that would later become Adult and Teen Challenge was founded in 1960 by David Wilkerson, an Assemblies of God pastor who left a rural Pennsylvania church to work on the street among teenage gang members and socially marginalized people in New York City and who, perhaps, is best known for later authoring The Cross and the Switchblade and founding Times Square Church. Teen Challenge started its first residential program in December 1960, in a house of Brooklyn.
What We Do
Our mornings are spent learning God’s Word through journaling, teaching videos, and classroom instruction. The afternoons are devoted to working with our hands through daily activities like providing quality services with our industries such as: Mercy House Auto Center, manufacturing hand crafted crosses in our wood shop, a vehicle donation program, housekeeping chores, and community job details that range in various charitable works. Finally the evenings consist of either an outside speaker, chapel/church, study hall, and ends with nightly prayer.
Our program is divided into two phases. The first phase takes up to approximately 6 months to complete, considering the individual’s aptitude. During this time they will learn the importance of accountability as they are led through the 14 books of Group Studies for New Christians (a part of the Teen Challenge curriculum.) These books teach the fundamentals of how to become a successful Christian. Throughout this course they are quizzed and tested. Students are also required to do scripture memorization throughout this phase, as well as projects from a workbook that provides 49 character qualities of a Godly man.
After completion of all First Phase requirements, our Advanced Training, or Second Phase, is the beginning of a deeper look into the Bible. The Word is where God is, and where we find His purpose for us. We are in the process of expanding our curriculum with the help of local teachers and pastors who have a passion for giving the wider sense of scripture. We have plans of building our curriculum, as God provides the capable laborers to facilitate this endeavor.
Does It Work?
A Wilder Research study of 154 former residents who graduated between 2007 and 2009 reported that:*
- 74 percent of adult program graduates reported no use in the previous six months
- 58 percent had attended school since graduating
- 77 percent were either working 30+ hours a week or were a full-time student
- 80+ percent rated the overall quality of MnTC as “outstanding” or “very good.”
- When asked to name what helped most, the faith-based aspects of the program were mentioned most frequently.
*Based on a study of the Teen Challenge program