founder and president of IBLP
Bill Gothard is the third of six children born November 2, 1934, to William and Carmen Gothard. His father was the general manager of an engineering firm and later served with various ministries, including The Gideons International, where he was the executive director.
When Bill was in the 5th grade, God brought him to an understanding of his need for a personal Savior through the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship. Shortly after accepting Jesus as his Savior, he and his family joined a Biblically based church and grew in their appreciation for the authority of God’s Word.
At the age of 15, Bill was greatly concerned for many of his high school classmates, who seemed to lack direction in life and were making unwise decisions. Realizing that they would have to live with the consequences of these decisions, he dedicated his life to helping teenagers and their parents make wise choices.
He began working with inner-city gangs in Chicago, church youth groups, high school clubs, youth camps, and families in crisis. In 1964, at the age of 30, Bill was ordained and commissioned for youth work by the church in which he grew up, a nondenominational Bible church in LaGrange, Illinois.
After 15 years of working with young people, Bill wrote his master’s thesis on a youth program that eventually led to seven Biblical, non-optional principles of life which, when followed, lead to harmonious relationships with God and others.
He was then invited to design and teach a course at Wheaton College based on his experiences working with young people. The course was given the name “Basic Youth Conflicts.”
Those who learned and applied this training found lasting solutions, and soon this course developed into a 32-hour seminar. Over 2.5 million people have now attended the Basic Seminar which continues, almost 40 years later, to be presented via video in cities across the U.S. and abroad.
Bill received his B.A. (1957) and M.A. (1961) degrees from Wheaton College and, a Ph.D. (2004) degree from Louisiana Baptist University.
In order to focus completely on the Lord and the life work God has given him, Bill has never married. Each day is an exciting race to see how much can be accomplished to advance God’s kingdom.
To find out more about Bill Gothard, visit his personal Web site at billgothard.com.