Sheepgate, a division of Adult & Teen Challenge of the Midlands, is one of the most successful recovery programs in the world. The biggest difference between us and more traditional recovery programs is our focus on Christ. We whole-heartedly depend on Christ-centered teaching and Biblical principles to be a guiding light that reveals darkness and results in genuine healing from difficult life issues and painful addictions.
Unlike short-term rehab centers that focus on treating your addiction, we require a yearlong commitment that helps you get to the root of your pain and confront destructive choices and self-sabotaging behavior. Through our Bible-based curriculum, you’ll learn how to apply God’s Word to your life. The longer duration gives you a safe place to establish a new “normal”— assured of the love of God and under the guidance of Biblical principles.
Our parent company, Adult & Teen Challenge started in Brooklyn, New York in 1958 by Rev. David Wilkerson, a young country preacher from eastern Pennsylvania. One February afternoon, Wilkerson read an article in LIFE magazine about seven teenagers who were on trial for murder.
During a gang fight in Manhattan, these teens beat a young man to death. Troubled by what he read, and sensing God’s prompting, Wilkerson made a trip to New York City. Sometime after this, Rev. Wilkerson resigned from his church in Pennsylvania and moved to New York City to work full time with teenage gang members. This new work was eventually called Teen Challenge. Shortly after that, Teen Challenge began offering help to teens addicted to drugs and alcohol.
During these early years, a large home was established in Brooklyn where a 12-month residential discipleship program was formed. Today there are nearly 200 centers across America working under the Adult & Teen Challenge banner and another 1,400 in 129 nations around the world.
The rest of the story of Teen Challenge is told in the best-selling book, The Cross and the Switchblade. This book has sold tens of millions of copies and has been translated into 35 different languages. Another exciting book that is available, Run Baby Run tells of notorious gang member Nicky Cruz who was one of David Wilkerson’s s early converts in New York City. Beyond the Cross and the Switchblade and The Cross is Still Mightier than the Switchblade also details the important early history of Teen Challenge.
The Rev. David Wilkerson waves his Bible, disrupts court proceedings. (Photo By: Art Whittaker/NY Daily News via Getty Images)