Born November 2, 1934, William W. (Bill) Gothard, Jr., is the third of six children born to William and Carmen Gothard. His father was the general manager of an engineering firm and later served with various ministries, including Gideons International, where he was the executive director.
At a young age and with the help of Godly parents, Bill trusted Christ as his personal Savior. Shortly after accepting Jesus, 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 dedicated his life to helping teenagers make wise decisions. This included sharing the Gospel with classmates and counseling teens. While living in the Chicago suburbs, this also involved driving into inner city gang areas to preach the Gospel. During this time, he made several vows that included postponing marriage for single service to God, not kissing before marriage, not watching pornography or immoral television, not visiting movie theaters, and the vow to be willing to die for Jesus.
At the age of the age of 23, Bill received his B.A. in biblical studies from Wheaton College and 4 years later, a M.A. in Christian education, from the same institution. After 15 years of working with inner-city gangs, church youth groups, high school clubs, youth camps, and families in crisis, Bill wrote his master’s thesis on a youth program that eventually led to seven Biblical non-optional principles of life which, when followed, will result in harmonious relationships in all areas of life.
In 1964, Bill was ordained and commissioned for youth work and a year later conducted the first seminar called “Basic Youth Conflicts” seminar at Wheaton College. In 1974, Bill launched his seminar ministry and became the founder of the “Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts”. As seminar alumni began applying the principles taught to practical needs, the Basic Youth Conflicts seminar exploded to national prominence, regularly filling auditoriums throughout the United States with attendance figures as large as sixteen thousand for a one-week seminar. In many major cities capacity seminars were held twice a year.
In 1984, Bill founded the Advanced Training Institute of America or ATIA (later known just as ATI) a homeschooling program based on the Sermon on the Mount, which was a large success with those that had found many benefits from the seminars, at its peek serving over 5,000 families.
In 1989, the organization agreed to a name change and became the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), of which Bill was the president and also a board member. As of today, the seven principles that Bill wrote his thesis on have now been taught for more than 40 years around the world. Millions of people have found lasting help. IBLP has been able to serve public schools, juvenile court systems, prisons, as well as business and community leaders and it has become an international organization with training centers in the United States and other countries.
The work of the IBLP not only involved a seminar and homeschooling curriculum but also a law school, an accelerated learning program, and over 60 other ministries, including juvenile rehabilitation programs, two orphanages, and the Air Land Emergency Resource Team (ALERT).
During the last several decades Bill has authored many books, including The Power of Crying Out, Our Jealous God and The Power of Spoken Blessings. Since leaving IBLP in 2014 he has authored five new books and has founded a new ministry called “Life Purpose Power Teams” to encourage men and their families to pray for their neighbors, with the goal that every person in the world will eventually have at least one person praying specifically for them.