ABOUT ADULT & TEEN CHALLENGE
The mission of Teen Challenge is to provide youth, adults and families an effective and comprehensive faith-based prevention or solution to drug and alcohol addiction and other life controlling problems. Our objectives are to enable students to find freedom from addictive behavior, and to become socially and emotionally healthy, physically well and spiritually alive. With committed staff, effective programs and vocational training, Teen Challenge endeavors to produce graduates who function responsibly and productively in civil society, and who have healthy relationships in the work place, family, church and community.
At Oklahoma Teen Challenge, we would find it heart-breaking to merely see a person set free from the bondages of sin only to pursue a life of selfish gain. We aim to equip men to take dominion of their lives, their families, their communities, their schools, their work environments, and etc. by becoming servants of Christ who live to bring glory and honor to God in each and every role God would assign to them.
Wayne joined the team at Oklahoma Teen Challenge in 2008. Prior to this he was the Executive Director of a Teen Challenge Men's Facility in Central Florida for 15 years. Wayne's connection to Teen Challenge goes back to his college days as a student at State Technical Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. One night some local Teen Challenge staff members handed him a Bible tract and discussed, for over an hour, his need to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Before they left they told him of a good church in the area that he might think about attending. It took Wayne six months to get up the courage to go, but once there he wasted no time in giving the control of his life over to Jesus.
Wayne is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas and is an ordained minister. He has served as a Senior Pastor as well as various staff positions in Teen Challenge. Currently Wayne is on the Teen Challenge USA Board and is a Regional Representative for Teen Challenges in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico. Wayne has been married to Mischa since 1990 and they have 2 sons, Austin and Evan.
It was February 28, 1958 when the 26-year-old Pentecostal preacher from rural Pennsylvania disrupted a highly publicized murder trial in New York City. David Wilkerson had made the eight-hour drive from his quiet mountain village to downtown Manhattan for a simple reason: to speak to the seven accused gang members about their salvation. In a grave attempt to share the love of God, Wilkerson had rushed to the front of the courtroom at the close of trial proceedings and pleaded publicly with the judge for permission to meet the teenage defendants. News media were everywhere, and Wilkerson unwittingly made himself the source of headline news throughout New York City. The judge had been receiving death threats during the trial, and Wilkerson was almost arrested as a presumed assailant. The judge later refused Wilkerson's request to see the boys and ordered him never to return to his courtroom.
Today the one-time rural preacher is known as the founder of a international ministry program called Teen Challenge that helps people with Life Controlling Addictions and has one of the highest success rates anywhere in the world. Since it's first center opened in New York in 1960, Teen Challenge has grown to over 170 centers in 48 states and nearly 250 centers in 80 countries. In PuertoRico the organization is building an AIDS hospital, the first of its kind. Wilkerson also founded a global evangelistic ministry, World Challenge. Yet the Pentecostal preacher remains today what he was 50 years ago-a man dedicated to preaching the gospel in the heart of New York City. He pastors Times Square Church in Manhattan, which he founded in 1987. Wilkerson made more than the news back in 1958-five months after his discouraging day in court, his compassion for teen-age gangs and drug addicts make history.
A year later he established the first Teen Challenge center in one of the roughest areas of Brooklyn. Addicts and other troubled youths poured into the center and were delivered by God's power. One skeptical psychiatrist observing the program remarked, "It seems to me you're just using Jesus as a crutch." "Then give me two of them," a resident of the center responded. "What is the program?" the psychiatrist asked. "God in the morning, Jesus in the afternoon and the Holy Ghost at night," the resident replied. The good news spread quickly, and Wilkerson was deluged with pleas for help with drug problems from all over the country. "I raised funds for the first 10-12 centers that started," he said. Answering appeals got so demanding that he allowed the ministry to come under the Home Missions department of the Assemblies of God. His brother Don then took over as director of the center. Based on strong Christian principles, the intensive program runs from 6 to 14 months. Residents come from the streets, detoxification facilities, hospitals or jails. Some are referred by pastors and counselors or court-ordered into treatment by judges. HIV-positive students are normally accepted. Teen Challenge teaches that the key to abstinence from substance abuse is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.