A Testimony of Obedience
“God, you’ve got to raise up a testimony in this hellish place. The answer was not what I wanted to hear: ‘Well, you know the city. You’ve been here. You do it.'”
Times Square Church was founded by Pastor David Wilkerson. Pastor David was first called to New York City in 1958 to minister to gang members and drug addicts, as told in the best-selling book The Cross and the Switchblade. The book became a best-seller, with over 50 million copies in over 30 languages, and is included in Christianity Today’s “Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.” He went on to create Teen Challenge and World Challenge, Inc. to minister to people’s spiritual and physical needs.
You Know the City
In 1986, while walking down 42nd Street at midnight, Pastor David’s heart broke over what he saw. At that time, Times Square was populated mainly by prostitutes and pimps, runaways, drug addicts and hustlers, along with live peep shows and X-rated movie houses. Pastor David cried out for God to do something—anything—to help the physically destitute and spiritually dead people he saw.
Recalling that life-changing night, Pastor David said, “I saw 9-, 10- and 11-year-old kids bombed on crack cocaine. I walked down 42nd Street and they were selling crack. Len Bias, the famous basketball player, had just died of a crack overdose, and the pusher was yelling, ‘Hey, I’ve got the stuff that killed Len.’ I wept and prayed, ‘God, you’ve got to raise up a testimony in this hellish place. The answer was not what I wanted to hear: ‘Well, you know the city. You’ve been here. You do it.’”
From Town Hall to Broadway
Pastor David obeyed God and opened Times Square Church in October of 1987 in Town Hall before moving to its present location at the Mark Hellinger Theater. As its founding pastor, he faithfully delivered powerful biblical messages that encourage righteous living and complete reliance on God. In 1994, Pastor David founded the Summit International School of Ministry, the Bible school of Times Square Church. His passion to disciple believers, build up leaders and care for the poor is still at the heart of Times Square Church today.