The History of ATI and IBLP

Built on the Vision and Faithfulness of Many Pioneers

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.” —Matthew 6:33


The Advanced Training Institute International was founded in 1984 by the Institute in Basic Life Principles through the vision of Bill Gothard. It began as the answer to the request of Basic Seminar alumni who desired to train their children in the Biblical principles that had transformed their lives.

One hundred and two families were selected from over 2,000 who applied to pilot the program. They met together with Bill in the north woods of Michigan for a week of planning and made commitments to turn life into a classroom and use Scripture as the main textbook for studying every academic subject.

Curriculum Developed

These pioneers began their school year with very little curriculum and the determination to mutually write and share as they went forward. In time, God raised up qualified people to write the Wisdom Booklets. The curriculum series was completed in 1989 and is now entering its second edition (begun in 2002). The pioneers of ATI and a group of educators, ministers, scientists, historians, and engineers developed and expanded the educational concepts used to develop this unique curriculum.

Students of All Ages

ATI was originally intended for primary and secondary education. However, the older children of several ATI families began to feel that their college training was unrelated to real life and void of Biblical principles in comparison with the training their younger brothers and sisters were receiving at home. Therefore ATI allowed these students to join their families. Older students investing in the lives of their younger siblings while applying God’s Word together resulted in families whose Christ-like, moral character and unity of purpose were unheard of against the backdrop of the modern family. As other Christian families desired to experience these results, the ranks of ATI began to swell.

International Expansion

In 1991, invitations came to ATI from governing officials in New Zealand and Russia who requested meetings with ATI leaders and older students. The result was an open door for ministry—conducting Basic Seminars; establishing international branches of ATI; ministering to thousands of orphans, school children, and inmates; distributing Bibles; and ongoing work with the people of these nations. Currently, ATI and IBLP has ongoing works in over a dozen nations. Older ATI students have been an energizing force behind these ministries, gaining international exposure as part of their real-life training.

Training Programs to Prepare for Life

Between 1994 and 2004, ATI added an array of long- and short-term training opportunities to equip ATI students with skills to complement their unique life purpose while providing the training within an environment that builds their faith rather than destroys it. These courses, many of which bear college-level credit, are held in the United States and around the world at a number of training centers.