Richard J. Foster Award in Spiritual Formation

The Richard J. Foster Award in Spiritual Formation recognizes those whose intellectual and practical work helps others come into an ongoing transformational relationship with Jesus Christ.

Best known as the author of Celebration of Discipline and as the founder of Renovaré, Foster’s pioneering work on spiritual life is notable for its accessibility, depth, scriptural richness, and conversation with the spiritual classics.

The Richard J. Foster Award in Spiritual Formation, first presented in 2022, is an opportunity to recognize both established and rising figures whose work continues in the spirit of Foster himself.

The Award Interview

Watch video: About the Award | An Interview with Richard J. Foster

Award Criteria

Recipients of the award are people who: 

  • Show evidence of a life marked by an ever-deepening spiritual growth into Christlikeness
  • Value and welcome all the streams of Christian devotion: contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice, evangelical, incarnational, etc.
  • Are free from needing the spotlight and use their platform for the good of others
  • Truly see others, valuing each individual as God’s beloved image-bearer
  • Listen carefully and respond prayerfully to the challenges of contemporary culture

In addition, the work of award recipients is:

  • Aimed at a vital, living relationship with God in Christ
  • Thoughtful, well-crafted and speaks to the eternal issues of the heart
  • Practical in orientation and useful in local congregations and beyond
  • Ecumenical in spirit and conversant with the classics of the Christian tradition
  • Rooted in Scripture

Award Recipients


Joshua Choonmin Kang: 2023

Joshua Choonmin Kang (PhD, William Carey International University; ThM, Talbot School of Theology; MDiv, Azusa Pacific University) is the founding pastor of New Life Vision Church in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, California. He is a speaker and has written books such as Deep-Rooted in Christ and Scripture by Heart.

Kang is also the author of more than 80 books in Korean, including Solitude of a Leader, with over 1.5 million copies in print. He is married to Grace Kang and is blessed with two daughters, Rebekah and Esther.

Event Details

Thursday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., Canyon Commons

Richard Foster will honor Joshua Choonmin Kang with the award, followed by Kang's Lecture, "Deep-Rooted in Christ." He will deliver his talk in Korean, but will have a translator with him. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Thursday, Sept. 28, 10:50 a.m., Bauman Auditorium

Dr. Kang will give the undergraduate chapel address.

Photo of Trevor-Hudson

Trevor Hudson: 2022 (inaugural recipient)

Trevor Hudson has been part of the Methodist movement in southern Africa for nearly 50 years. Since stepping away from active pastoral ministry within the local congregation, he now devotes his time to lecturing, writing, retreat-giving and offering spiritual companionship.

Hudson lectures in the Doctor of Ministry (Spiritual Direction) program at Fuller Seminary and continues to find great joy in working closely with the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation, the Dallas Willard Center, the Next Frontiers program for pastors, the Institute for Creative Conversation, and the Jesuit Institute in South Africa.

Author of more than 20 books, his most recent, Seeking God: Finding Another Kind of Life with St. Ignatius and Dallas Willard, was published by NavPress in September 2022. Hudson is married to Debbie. They are the parents of two adult children, Joni and Mark, and the grandparents of twin granddaughters, Scarlett and Isabella.

Watch the 2022 Award Presentation and Trevor's Address: "Practicing Resurrection in a Crucifying World: The Integration of Spiritual Formation and Missional Engagement"

Watch Trevor's Chapel Message: "Opening the Divine Invitation into Transforming Friendship"

Photo of Richard Foster

Why Spiritual Formation Matters

by Richard J. Foster

The wise Apostle Paul gives us the eternal watchword for Christian spiritual formation when he writes, “I am in travail (a birthing image) until Christ be formed in you . . . until Christ be formed in you . . . Christ be formed in you . . . formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19). This is spiritual formation!

Christian spiritual formation is the redemptive process of forming the inner human person – us – so that we are enabled by God’s grace to progressively take on the overall character of the inner being of Christ himself. The salvation that is in Jesus involves both the forgiveness of sins and the deliverance from evil in all of its soul-destroying manifestations.

You see, our being “born from above,” of necessity, includes our being formed from above. Being spiritually born is a beginning – a wonderful, glorious beginning. It is not an ending. The heart is cleansed, but it has yet to be purified. The work of the cross contains a “double cure,” as the old hymn puts it:

Rock of Ages cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood
From Thy wounded side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure
Save from wrath and make me pure

So often today we only speak of the first part of this work of the cross. We talk a lot about being “saved from wrath” – in modern parlance “forgiven of our sins so we will go to heaven when we die.” (And this is indeed a wonderful reality, isn’t it?). But as the hymn says, this divine work involves a “double cure.” The salvation that is in Jesus Christ also aims to make us pure.

You see, God’s intent is to form us so deeply from the inside out that progressively we are able to reflect the likeness of Jesus, reflecting Jesus’ desires, reflecting Jesus’ love, reflecting Jesus’ care and compassion for all peoples.

Now, the crying need today is for us to understand how this deep character formation of heart and mind and soul occurs. And to experience it for ourselves! We desperately need a theology of spiritual formation that has been proven to work in the midst of the harsh realities of daily life.

This is why we are establishing this award in spiritual formation. And it is why I am glad to lend my name to this effort. It is of supreme importance for us constantly to hold before ourselves a supernatural vision of deep, interior, subterranean character formation – and transformation:

  • To experience a life of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17)
  • To understand experientially that real, solid, substantive transformation into Christlikeness is actually possible
  • To enter into such an overwhelming character transformation that it is well-nigh amazing
  • To see our own sinful thoughts and egocentric passions give way to such a selflessness and humility of heart that it astonishes even us
  • For rage and hate and malice to be replaced with love and compassion and universal goodwill
  • To catch a vision of Christ’s everlasting rule, not only imminent on the horizon but already bursting forth in our midst

Selection Committee

George Fox University, founded by evangelical Friends in 1891, has been dedicated to the development of whole persons in Christ for over 130 years. Foster, an alumnus and former teacher, embodies the mission of George Fox. It is our delight to celebrate Richard’s ongoing legacy with this annual award.

The selection committee includes Richard and Nathan Foster, representatives from the George Fox School of Theology, the university’s Office of Spiritual Life, and Portland Seminary.