How do you get good people? Society and much else depend upon being able to answer this Big Question well. It can only be answered through the category of virtue.
The Martin Institute at Westmont College is a focal point for the modern spiritual formation movement. Over the past four decades, this movement has reintroduced the concept of virtue to American Protestantism and has developed a rich and rigorous base of resources for the cultivation of character.
In this project, our concern is with moral formation in the next generation.
The proposal we are submitting is for a 24-month pilot which, if successful, will form the basis of a wider 5-7 year strategy for promoting virtue among millennials. The project includes elements for short, medium and long-term impact:
Immediate impact—We aim to extend the reach of virtue formation through developing a dynamic and compelling web-presence. In addition to tools for study, the site will include “an exercise room” to facilitate widespread virtue formation practices in daily life.
Medium—We also wish to expand spiritual formation’s profile through several carefully crafted public events. These events are designed to continue nourishing the movement’s vibrancy and to consolidate an agenda for its ongoing intellectual and practical development.
Long-term—We want to develop a fellowship program around a class of 8 emerging leaders who are likely to have wide influence across the arts, academia, business, ministry and public sphere. Our activities are designed to form our fellows in four areas:
~Personal—To integrate robust practices of virtue into fellows' daily lives
~Relational—To solidify networks of virtuous community around each fellow
~Intellectual—To foster a vision of reality in which virtue sits at the center
~Public—To serve as a catalyst for the emergence of a class of leaders of robust character who are actively defending and developing the work of virtue formation in the broader culture