how the institute began
A Concern for Wise Choices
At the age of 15, Bill Gothard noticed some of his high school classmates making unwise decisions. Realizing that they would have to live with the consequences of these decisions, he was motivated to dedicate his life to helping young people make wise choices.
The Source of True Wisdom
Shortly thereafter, an older friend challenged Bill to begin memorizing large sections of Scripture. Until his high school years, Bill had been a very poor student, flunking first grade and passing the next eight grades on probation. However, as he memorized and meditated on Scripture, Bill’s grades improved significantly—so much so that he graduated from high school a member of the National Honor Society. This direct correlation between his grades and consistency in memorizing and meditating on Scripture continued through college and graduate school.
The Development of Daily Disciplines
Greater achievement in school was only one of many benefits that Bill experienced as a result of applying Scripture. When working with young people, he explained these benefits and urged them to practice Scriptural disciplines such as tithing, rising early, and memorizing Scripture.
An Invitation to Develop a College Course
In 1965, Bill’s alma mater, Wheaton College, invited him to design and teach a course based on his work with youth. The course was given the name “Basic Youth Conflicts.” Two hours of upper-division undergraduate and graduate credit were awarded to students completing the course. Forty-six students, youth pastors, and teachers registered for the first class. The next year 120 students enrolled in Basic Youth Conflicts.
Expansion Through Word-of-Mouth Recommendation
In the years that followed, Basic Youth Conflicts was offered in several new locations. Alumni were informed of the dates and told their friends about it. Soon seminar attendance averaged between 10,000 and 20,000 youth and adults. Now, almost 40 years later, hundreds of smaller seminars are still being conducted in cities throughout the United States and other nations.
The IBLP Name
IBLP was first incorporated in 1961 under the name Campus Teams.
As the seminar ministry grew, the name Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts was adopted in 1974, to provide a more descriptive title.
With a continuing surge of growth and outreach beyond the arena of parent-teen conflicts, a new name was needed again. In 1989, the IBLP Board of Directors changed the name to what it is presently: Institute in Basic Life Principles.