Seattle 2017 applications closed. Chicago 2018 applications now open.

Questions and Answers

What is Renovaré?
Renovaré is a community of Christians seeking continual spiritual renewal in Christ. We are convinced that all people can enjoy a closer walk with Jesus, leading to a more vibrant and fulfilling Christlike life. Founded by spiritual formation author Richard J. Foster, Renovaré is Christian in commitment, international in scope, and ecumenical in breadth.

What is the Renovaré Institute?
Richard J. Foster first drew up a proposal for a spiritual formation academy/institute in 1991. Since that time, there has been an explosion of interest in spiritual formation with the majority of seminaries offering "something" related to spiritual formation. However, even with the burgeoning interest, it is rare to find programs that maintain what Renovaré champions—high Christology, balanced vision, practical strategies, a breadth of historical and ecumenical engagement, and a superior quality in ideas and written materials.

Who should apply?
The ideal individuals to benefit from the offerings of the Renovaré Institute are the cross section of people within various local congregations who are profoundly dedicated to Christian spiritual formation. These are highly motivated individuals who are looking for something not fully provided by either seminary education or local church life. Their common desire is to know and live the "with-God life." Their common strength is the ability and the platform to influence others in living well.

What will the Renovaré Institute provide?
The Renovaré Institute offers a systematic way to articulate and develop—both in writing and teaching content—critical ideas of Dallas Willard and Richard J. Foster and others associated with Renovaré. In addition to providing an intensive environment for soaking in these core concepts, the Institute will add intellectual rigor and testable information to the Christian spiritual formation field. The Renovaré Institute will help develop a second generation of Renovaré teachers.

Where is the school located?
Most of the work is done online, but for two separate weeks each year students gather in person for a total of four residencies. For 2017, the initial week-long residency is in Santa Barbara, with the remaining three held in retreat centers near Seattle. For 2018 and onward, all four residencies will be held in retreat centers near the host city, which changes with each two-year cohort of students. You don't have to live in the host city to apply. We simply change locations to make the program possible for people in that part of the country who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend.

Are there prerequisites?
While the school is academically challenging there are no formal prerequisites.

What does the program cost?
The cost for each year of the two-year academy—exclusive of transportation, books, and supplies—is $3,900. A significant percentage of this cost is for lodging and meals during the four weeks in retreat center settings.

The first year's payment is due by July 1st of the startup year once a student is accepted.

How many students are in each cohort?
Due to our commitment to fostering a relatively intimate community experience, we limit each cohort to 45 students.

What is the workload?
Most students indicate they average 8-12 hours/week in the program, not including the residency weeks. The normal rhythm involves reading approximately one book/month and one article/week. Keeping good reading notes and exercise journals is key to the process (and foundational to the papers due at the end of each semester). We use a web-based learning platform called Moodle for online discussion and interactions with teachers and fellow students.

At the end of each six-month semester, there are two papers (5-7 pages each) due. By the second semester, discussion will begin with our Director of Education, Carolyn Arends, about how you intend to pass what you've learned along through a significant final project at the end.

What are the residencies?
We meet two times per year for a week (four times in all over the two-year period). The weeklong intensives are 3-4 days of teaching and formational exercises, and then the latter part of each week is two days of retreat.

Are small group meet-ups part of the program?
Yes. At the first residency, you will be placed into a small group of about 6 students. You will be asked to arrange a time during the fourth week of each month when you can meet via Skype, Google Hangouts, or some other online video conferencing. You will be in a total of three different small groups throughout the two years of the program.

Will other graduate schools recognize the RI certificate?
Yes, many of our graduates go on to pursue additional graduate work and receive advance standing credits for the RI certificate. Typically, graduate schools grant RI grads 6-12 units towards master's and doctorate degrees in spiritual formation or spiritual direction. We’ve listed some of our key grad school partnerships here. Beyond this list, we’ve never had a student be denied at least some credit towards a graduate degree in a related field at any institution.

What if I have more questions, or just need to talk this through with someone?
Email or call Justine Olawsky at [email protected] or 303-745-1223.

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Download the Renovare Instituté Program Overview

Includes course outlines, program structure, and breakdown of time commitment.
More questions? Contact Justine Olawsky at [email protected] or 303-745-1223.