Skip navigation

Christian Flourishing Summer School

Exploring the Theme:
“Flourishing Within Christian Communities”

June 27-28, 2024

Human flourishing, as a concept, has deep historical and philosophical roots, dating back to Aristotle’s notion of “eudaimonia” or living a good life. It evolved through various intellectual traditions, including Greek philosophy, Renaissance humanism, and Enlightenment thinking, gradually being adapted into contemporary positive psychology. In the modern era, human flourishing has become a central focus in the field of psychology, with researchers like Martin Seligman emphasizing its importance for well-being and human development. Despite the rich history and extensive research, a critical gap in literature appears when it comes to understanding flourishing within emic—specific cultural and religious—contexts. Most existing studies on human flourishing have taken an etic approach (e.g., the Global Flourishing Study), treating the concept as universally applicable across cultures and traditions. This has left a void in understanding how different communities might uniquely interpret and manifest flourishing, particularly within religious traditions such as Christianity—the world’s largest religious group with over 2.5 billion believers worldwide.

The Christian Flourishing Summer School seeks to foster a deeper understanding and an expansion of human flourishing studies by integrating perspectives and methodologies in psychology, public health, and Christian theology. The Summer School integrates empirical findings from psychology and related social sciences and insights from theological traditions on what it means for Christians, their congregations, and communities to truly flourish. Christian communities are characterized by distinct values, beliefs, and practices that inherently influence their interpretation and pursuit of flourishing. The Summer School aims to enrich both academic understanding and practical approaches to flourishing within Christian settings.

The keynote speakers and plenary sessions will address Flourishing within Christian Communities using a theory-research-practice framework. The summer school strives to transform conceptual models and empirical research on Christian flourishing into concrete actions for Christian individuals, congregations, and communities. To that end, the summer school workshop and presentations aim to construct accessible, practical strategies that individuals, families, and faith communities can weave into everyday routines.

This two-day, on-campus event provides researchers, practitioners, and graduate students the opportunity to network with experts in the field, grow their knowledge base, and even present their own work on the science of Christian flourishing, focusing on either theory, research, or practice.

Dr. William Hathaway (Regent University)

“Christian Flourishing: Towards an Abundant Life Framework.”

Dr. Hathaway will lead a discussion on human flourishing from a Christian perspective, offering a more nuanced interpretation and understanding of scriptures and Christian principles (e.g., Abundant Life) that outlines what it truly means to flourish in a Christian context.

Dr. Tyler VanderWeele (Harvard University)

“Measuring Human Flourishing Globally: Early Findings and Implications for Religious Communities”

Dr. VanderWeele will share research from his Global Flourishing Study on defining and measuring human flourishing globally, and the implications this might have for Christian communities. This session will offer practical methods for measuring flourishing while also providing the audience with a scientific lens to better understand the current state of flourishing and spiritual well-being.

Dr. Jennifer Ripley (Regent University)

“Religious/Spiritual Care Competencies in Clinical Practice and Settings“

Dr. Ripley, known for her clinical work in psychology and her faith, will explore the role and importance of spiritual care competencies within Christian communities. Her talk will explore how spiritual formation and pastoral care can contribute to the overall flourishing of individuals and communities alike.

Dr. Everett Worthington Jr. (Virginia Commonwealth University)

“Human Flourishing and Practicing Forgiveness”

Renowned for his work on forgiveness, Dr. Worthington will conduct a workshop on REACH Forgiveness with the aim of providing attendees with practical insights and tools for nurturing compassion in Christian communities. REACH (Recall, Emphasize, Altruistic gift, Commit, and Hold) Forgiveness is a forgiveness framework aimed at teaching healthier methods of resolving conflict. The workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn practical hands-on skills needed for forgiving others and achieving personal healing.

Regent’s Christian Flourishing Summer School invites students, researchers, and practitioners to register for oral or poster presentations that resonate with the topic of human flourishing and the summer school’s three objectives:

  1. Analyzing and discussing theories pertinent to flourishing in Christian communities.
  2. Recognizing and augmenting the current research landscape within the field of human flourishing.
  3. Implementing existing theory and research in both clinical and faith settings.

Topics of Interest

The following are a few potential topics of interest to consider when developing a paper:

  • Religion/spirituality as important constructs of human flourishing.
  • Empirical evidence on well-being and human flourishing within Christian communities.
  • Interdisciplinary interpretations of flourishing and their implications for Christian communities.
  • Development of psychological interventions and spiritual care competencies to foster human flourishing 
  • The integration of science, health, and faith in enhancing human flourishing.

Submission Requirements

  1. Abstract (250-300 words) clearly outlining the aim, methodology, and findings of your research. Please specify if your contribution is primarily theoretical or applied in nature. For theoretical research, emphasize the conceptual or theoretical framework and its advancement in the field of Christian flourishing. For applied or practice-oriented research, highlight practical implications, applications, or potential impact on specific Christian flourishing practices.
  2. Brief Biography (100 words) outlining your affiliation and areas of research interest.

If presenting, check “yes” under “Are you applying to present?” on the registration form; For questions or registration issues, please contact

Date & Time

Date: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Time: June 27-28, 2024


Regent University
1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23464

The keynotes will be happening at the Library Auditorium.

Abstract Proposal Submission Deadline: March 29, 2024

Acceptance Notification: April 23, 2024

Summer School Registration Deadline: June 16, 2024

The 2024 Christian Flourishing Summer School is open to graduate students, career scholars, psychology and counseling faculty, and anyone in the Regent community who is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of human flourishing and its relation to Christian thought. All registered guests will receive a paid lunch provided by Founders Inn & Spa Dining during the event. Your registration not only grants you access to the enriching sessions by our speakers but also participation in the continuous education workshop on “Human Flourishing and Practicing Forgiveness” led by the esteemed Dr. Worthington.

Early bird discount:

 $110 if registered before February 16, 2024.

Regular Price:

$135 after February 16, 2024.

Please note that the registration fee is the same for attendees and participants/presenters.