Bishop E. L. Sheppard was born to Charlie and Elizabeth Austin Sheppard on July 15, 1928 in Tampa, Florida. He prided himself upon the premise that he was raised in the ghetto of Tampa without a father and was faced with many dysfunctions that society turns its back upon. Even though his parents’ marriage ended after 8 years, God used this event to develop his leadership abilities as he assisted his mother in providing for their family. He started school at the age of nine and completed his secondary education at nineteen. He married Floria Chavers of Winter Park, Florida on December 25, 1953. They had five children: Elbert Jr. Elliott, Elaine, Ronald Elijah, and Donald Elisha.