According to his book, The Cross and Switchblade, Reverend Wilkerson had been pastoring an Assembly of God Church in Pennsylvania when God moved upon his heart to reach out to New York City gang members in the late 1950s. His interruption by walking in on court proceedings involving gang members and waving a Bible was a key God used to make inroads into local gangs. Eventually this ministry became so intense he resigned his church to continue his ministry with gang members.
Most notable among the converts from the gangs was Nicky Cruz, who later became a minister with the Assemblies of God. Prior to his conversion, Nicky wanted to kill Wilkerson, but God, of course, intervened. Reverend Cruz still ministers as of the time of this article.
Brief details of the crash may found at CBN’s web site. It is reported that Gwen, his wife, was along at the time of the crash involving a head-on collision with a truck.
Wilkerson is viewed amongst the disciples of Christ as a man whose heart reached out to souls in a selfless, sacrificial way.