The following is from Time Square Church in NYC... It touched my heart and made an impact on me regarding; "Reaching Our Communities and the Lost"! (You will find the history of the NYC Church below.)
A. Sanders writes:
I officiated a funeral this morning for a man named Charles Turner, an only child he was born in Tyler, Texas on April 14, 1945. He never married and had no children. We don't know much about Charles's life, but he spent the last 30 years in a nursing facility as a ward of the state. Charles was a double amputee and had severe dementia. He loved Dr. Pepper and he enjoyed sitting outside.
I've done many funerals, but this one was different. Charles was completely alone. As far as we can tell, he had no friends or surviving family members. The funeral consisted of me, the funeral director and a social worker.
Friends - There are people in your community and my community just like Charles. We may not see them, but they are there. My prayer today is that God would help us see the lost, the lonely, and the hurting in our town's backyards. No-one can befriend everyone, but everyone can befriend someone.
Today I'm thankful for the valuable ministry of those who visit the nursing homes. You won't ever make headlines, but what you do matters.
About Times Square Church:
My Thanks to Times Square Church, NYC: David Wilkerson served as a pastor in small churches in Scottdale and Phillipsburg, PA, until he saw a photograph in LIFE MAGAZINE in early 1958 of seven teenager who were members of a gang in New York, known as the "Egyptian Kings".
He wrote that he felt the Holy Spirit move him with compassion and was drawn to go to New York in other to preach to them. On his arrival, Wilkerson went to the court in which the teenagers were being prosecuted. He entered the room and asked the judge for permission to tell them something, but the judge ejected him.
Upon leaving, someone took a photo of Pastor Wilkerson, who then became known as the Bible preacher, "who had interrupted the gang trial." Soon after this, he began a street ministry to young drug addicts and gang members, which he continued into the 1960's. He also founded "Teen Challenge" in 1958, an evangelical Christian addiction recovery program in Brooklyn, NY with a network of Christian social and evangelizing work centers.
Pastor Wilkerson gained national recognition after he co-authored the book, "The Cross and the Switchblade" in 1962, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill about his street ministry. 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.
In the book, Pastor Wilkerson tells of the conversion of gang member Nicky Cruz, who later became an evangelist himself and wrote the autobiographical, "Run Baby Run". Nicky had been the leader of the "Mau Maus" gang, and he and his friend Israel Narvaez became Christians after hearing Pastor Wilkerson Preach. In 1970, The Cross and the Switchblade was turned into a Hollywood Movie staring, Pat Boone as Pastor Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as Cruz.
In 1967, Wilkerson began Youth Crusades, an evangelistic ministry aimed at teenagers whom Wilkerson called "goodniks" - middle class youth who were restless and bored. His goal was to prevent them from becoming heavily involved with drugs, alcohol, or violence. Through his ministry the, "Cure Corps" (Collegiate Urban Renewal Effort) was founded in 1971. Pastor Wilkerson moved his ministry headquarters to Lindale, Texas. On September 22, he founded "World Challenge," an organization seeking to promote and spread the gospel throughout the world.
Pastor Wilkerson claimed that in 1986, while walking down 42nd Street in New York City at midnight, the Holy Spirit called him to return to New York City and to raise up a ministry in Times Square. He founded and became the pastor of Times Square Church, which opened its doors in October 1987. The church first occupied rented auditoriums in Times Square (Town Hall and the Nedelander Theatre), before moving to the historic Mark Hellinger Theatre in 1989, in which it has operated ever since.
Pastor Wilkerson did not preach in the name of any specific denomination, instead he focused on biblical preaching with the aim of encouraging people to seek God through a personal and deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ and the experience of the Holy Spirit. He said:
"I am not preaching some denominational doctrine, this church does not belong to any one denomination. We are not Assemblies of God, we are not Baptist, we're not Methodist, we're not Catholic. We're just Holy Spirit people believing fully this book, the Holy Bible!
From the 1990's, Pastor Wilkerson focused his efforts on encouraging pastors and their families throughout the world to "renew their passion for Christ". He and his wife Gwen moved to New York City at the inception of Times Square Church in 1987, and in 2006 began splitting their time between New York and Texas. They had four children and eleven grandchildren.
On April 27, 2011, while driving east on US Route 175 in Texas, Pastor Wilkerson crossed into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a tractor trailer. He was pronounced dead at the scene, just over a month from his 80th birthday. His wife Gwen was injured and hospitalized, she died one year later on July 5, 2012 from cancer at the age of 81.