In 1958, Rev. David Wilkerson, the pastor of a small church in rural Philipsburg, PA traveled to New York City to intercede in a court case for six gang members. Along with a mix of drug related changes, the teenagers were on trial for murder of a 15 year-old boy. Rev. Wilkerson’s journey to New York and his faith-inspired intervention seemed to end in failure as he was tossed out of the court room and not permitted to see the young men.
As the months passed, Rev. Wilkerson’s expulsion from the court room laid the unique ground work for what happened next. Believing the police were against both the gang members and Rev. Wilkerson, the gangs came to see him as an ally not an enemy. This turn of events created an opportunity for him to share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and see men and women experienced something life altering. Momentary change however, is not always enough for permanent life change. It was not enough for someone just to “find God,” they need to grow in that new found relationship with God. That is where permanent life change was going to be found, in a relationship with God. Out of this series of events, Teen Challenge was birthed into a ministry that reaches out to gangs and individuals trapped in an addictive lifestyle.
As the ministry of Teen Challenge grew it became apparent that more had to be done. It was not enough for a man or woman to be “clean” for a day, week, month or a year. If there was going to be change, it had to be a life-style change and for a season a geographical change. In 1961, it became apparent to Rev. Wilkerson that another phase of the program must be added. The next phase would have to be a training phase. This phase would focus on training the men in Biblical truth, as well as many basic life and work skills.
In June of 1962, the journey of prayer and searching for a training center location drew to a close when Rev. Wilkerson returned from a speak engagement in Lebanon, PA. A farmer had approached him after the meeting and offered to sell him a farm with 16 acres of land. Full of joy and excitement, Rev. Wilkerson returned home with the news. A few weeks later, the search ended with a trip to a farm in rural in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania. To this day, that farm, known to many as “God’s Mountain” is our main campus.
Today Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) offers services to men and women with openings available in all residential programs.
We believe that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, there is hope for recovery for every individual who is bound with life controlling issues. There is hope even when all other methods have failed. Based on Biblical principles, PAATC offers a safe place for recovery for eligible individuals. For more information about our admissions process, please contact our referral center at 844.888.8085.
“TeenChallenge – 50 Years of Miracles”, Pg. 10-29
Second Edition Color house Graphics, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2012
“The Jesus Factor” by David Manuel, Pg. 8-22
TeenChallenge Training Center, Rehrersburg, PA USA 2011