William R Bright – Born on October 19, 1921 in Coweta, OK


Bill Bright

Noël Bright created this digital portrait of her grandfather.  He actually had a watermelon cake for his 80th birthday!  The grandchildren were disappointed it wasn't a real cake, but he was delighted!

Bill's Story

He wasn't supposed to make it, but on October 19, 1921 the doctor placed William Bright into the arms of his mother and she knew she held a miracle.  The pregnancy had been hard and the doctor warned that she would probably lose the baby as well as her own life.  While her hard-working agnostic husband hoped for the best, Mary Bright prayed for a miracle.  "Please let this child be born, Lord.  I will give him to you."  She had no idea her miracle boy would be used by God to change the world!

You can read his bio on the About Us page.  Bill Bright touched hundreds of millions of lives around the world.  Here, however, we want to spend his 100th year sharing some of the thousands of stories behind the "numbers".  We will share notes from people around the world-- stories of changed lives, hope, courage and amazing faith.  At least once a month Brad will share stories about his dad he's never told publicly before.  We hope you will share some of your Bill Bright stories with us as well.

He would not want you to close this page thinking what a great man Bill Bright was.  He never sought the spotlight.  It was never "about him."  If what we share about Bill Bright's life doesn't make you long to know God the way Bill Bright knew God then we will have disappointed him and cheated you. 

Together, let's celebrate what God did in and through this son, husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend and most important- slave of Jesus.


Each week we will post pictures and other memories.  Some will be of family moments and others from ministry memories.  If you have a picture you would like to share please contact us!

A Happy Birthday drawning from a child

Birthday card from Keller

Bill's grandson, Keller, made this card for his 80th birthday.

Bill reading to children

Reading to his grandchildren.

As Keller wrote in the birthday card, the grandchildren loved it when Grandfather read to them!

Childs drawing of eating watermelon

Birthday card from Noël

Bill's granddaughter, Noël, made this card for his 80th birthday.  She captured his love for watermelon!

Dale Bright

Dale Bright age 12

We don't have pictures of Bill when he was young.  This picture of his dad, Dale, gives us a good idea of what Bill would have looked like.  He had his dad's eyes!

on the horse

Boys and their horse!


Growing up on a horse!  Bill's brothers and cousin.


Once a cowboy always a cowboy!


Changed Lives

Bill Bright received thousands upon thousands of notes and cards over the years.  We will post different ones each week.

Bill always gave the glory to Jesus for any life that was changed through the ministry God called him to.  The notes stand as inspiration to all who will follow Jesus heart, soul, and mind.  God can change lives through you as well!   

"As a result of your humility and availability to our Lord and Savior…I have been saved, my best friend has been saved, people in the Middle East have been saved, countless people have heard the Gospel and the list goes on from one vision." –S

"I am grateful for you Dr. Bright—for modeling the Spirit-Filled life. For never wavering from the focus of the Gospel message and the power of the Holy Spirit. For your spirit of unity that crosses denominational lines. For your contagious love for our Lord." –TH

"I was a junior at Vanderbilt when I first met you. I had heard much about you from our staff and reading your books. Your presence, however, was even more revealing. By that I mean that I saw your heart. I saw your vision for the world, your heart for people and your unswerving love for the Lord Jesus." –B

Untold Stories

Each month Brad will share a story about his dad that he has not shared publicly before.

early pic

Cru's False Start

Most people believe Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) began in October 1951.  Technically, that is correct.  What most people don’t know is the birth of what ultimately became the largest para-church organization in history was the third try.  The story of the first two attempts to launch the vision God gave my dad, Bill Bright, is etched in my memory and serves as a powerful lesson for us today.

The vision God gave was clear. My dad embraced it with energetic enthusiasm.  Plans were made, and in the Spring of 1951, he held his first event.  It was an utter failure.  How could this be?  He was disappointed but not deterred.  Maybe he needed to adjust the plan a bit.  Maybe the timetable needed some tweaking….

Later that same Spring my dad tried once again tried to launch the ministry.  Again—failure. One failure is hard, but two?  He was absolutely confident of his vision and calling.  What was he missing?  Then the light turned on – they hadn’t bathed it in prayer.  They had been so focused on the plan, the details, the implementation, and the work, they had neglected to passionately implore the Lord of the Harvest to open hearts.

Focused and extended prayer preceded the third launch of Campus Crusade for Christ in October of 1951. This time God caused fire seeds of spiritual awakening to ignite the UCLA campus, and the God-given vision exploded to life. From day one, the most influential leaders on campus began responding the to Good News.

The lesson God taught Bill Bright at Cru’s birth became the hallmark of his life and ministry.  It is one of the reasons why prayer and fasting was such a central part of Bill Bright’s life—up until the day he breathed his first breath of Celestial air. 

What has God called you to do today?  No matter what is, no matter if you think it’s big or small, bathe it in prayer and then watch in wonder as God unfolds His plan before your eyes. 

Copyright ©2021 Brad Bright

Share your story

Dear Friends, If you have a story or pictures you would like to share about
Bill please contact us via the contact page and we will connect with you!