Harold Gott is proof that it’s not just the “paper” that makes the minister; it’s the “passion” too.
Boise Bible College has always attracted non-traditional students, and Harold Gott has always been non-traditional.
Harold grew up in northern California working in the logging business with his dad and on a chicken farm to make extra money. His family was influenced by Doyle Farnsworth (BSL ’60), their minister in Arcata. Through Doyle, the Gott family grew a relationship with Kenny Beckman who was instrumental in recruiting Harold to BBC.
Harold came to BBC after high school graduation in 1971. After a year of classes, he returned to California for the summer to marry his high school sweetheart, Linda, and they moved to Boise where they both attended BBC the next school year. Harold worked the night shift at Smith’s Food King on State Street, getting off just in time for 7:00 AM classes, which made for a long day.
All the professors impacted him, but the teaching styles of Bob Ballard and Kenny Beckman influenced him for a lifetime. A congregation of two ladies in Jordan Valley, OR was Harold’s first preaching opportunity. Little did he know this would lead to a lifetime of ministry in small-town churches.
Harold went to Bible college with no intention of going into full-time located ministry, but God had other plans! He explained how BBC impacted his ministry: “The foundational experience of studying God’s Word at BBC was a key part of my preparation for ministry. While most of my education was of the experiential on-the-job variety, all of it was built on the underlying experience of my time at BBC.”
When asked to speak about BBC’s values, he said:
Boise Bible College’s desire is to be a place of rigorous but real-world scholarship. The gift of community surely deserves to be at the heart of what we do as a school. After all, we are in “The People Business!” Humility remains, as Seneca put it, “The Queen of all Virtues.” It is the antidote to human pride, which is always destructive to ministry. And, it is wise to recognize that while the message remains sure and secure, that it remains always the same – innovation is the name of the game in delivering it.
Harold’s Life After Boise Bible College
After two years of classes, Harold began full-time work at Smith’s in the management track. He was the produce manager, assistant manager, and in 1976 became a store manager in Pocatello, ID. The Gotts moved to Bend, OR in 1977, where he started working for Safeway. In January 1984, Pilot Butte Christian Church ordained Harold and in November that year he started preaching at the Church of Christ in Sisters, OR. He stayed with Safeway until 1987 and with the church until 1999. The first few years he would go to work at Safeway at 4:00 AM, head home for lunch, drive to Sisters for ministry, return home and sleep “fast” to start all over the next morning. It was a good day when the Safeway job ended and enabled them to move closer to the church in Sisters.
After 12 years of ministry Harold was talked into finishing his Associate’s degree in Bible, which he did in 1996, proving it isn’t just the “paper” that makes the minister, it’s the passion that drives the ministry. Many years of life experience equipped Harold well to love and serve people.
In 1999, the Gotts moved to Grangeville, ID where they ministered with Grangeville Christian Church for nearly twenty years. They retired in 2018 and moved back to Bend to take care of parents in declining health. Harold is currently back from retirement, serving as interim minister at Culver Christian Church.
Harold served his communities as chairman of school boards in both Sisters and Grangeville. In Grangeville he made presentations on the national level for the school board. One of the blessings of ministry was serving as a hospice volunteer chaplain for over 30 years. He was privileged to institute and oversee the volunteer chaplaincy at Syringa General Hospital in Grangeville for nearly 20 years. He has served on the board of Boise Christian Homes and is presently Chairman of the Board of Boise Bible College. Harold serves well as the Board Chairman for Boise Bible College!
Among the most appreciated compliments, Harold received when he retired was by a former LDS Bishop in Grangeville who said, “Harold, you have been a pastor to our community.” What better compliment for a pastor whose desire is to serve and integrate the church into the life of the community where he lives.
Harold and Linda are in their 48th year of marriage. They enjoy road trips and puttering around their home. Linda is a two-time cancer survivor, and Harold has experienced some significant health issues over the last several years. They have three children. Jennifer lives in Nashville, TN where she is an associate publisher for Thomas Nelson Publishing. Robert and Emily live in Oakland, CA where Robert works as a Customer Relations Representative for SalesForce. And Ellen practices medicine as PA-C Hospitalist at the University of Missouri Medical Center in Columbia, MO. Harold and Linda count every day to be a gift from God.
Many men who lived out their love for the Lord mentored and invested in Harold. Eddy and Jeanie Harrod have been a part of their lives since BBC days. They have made friends everywhere they have served. People’s need for Jesus is what has driven Harold.
Harold reflects, “Our lives have been deeply blessed by the ministry and people of Boise Bible College! I am so deeply grateful for the privilege of serving on the board. Our hope is that God will use the small contributions that we can bring in that role as a blessing to the ministry of Boise Bible College.”