Core Practice 2: THROUGHLINES
Every Christian school classroom must have an articulate and inspiring student profile that invites every student to imagine how to play their part in God’s story.
“The primary goal of Christian education is the formation of a peculiar people, a people who desire the kingdom of God and thus undertake their life’s expression of that desire.”
James K. A. Smith
What a complex challenge to imagine what it is to be a “peculiar” person in God’s story! TCS has identified 10 "peculiar people" from the bible to help us imagine who we are as peculiar people. When schools invite students to actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture, we need to challenge each student to develop Kingdom-building characteristics. These biblical characteristics help us all, teachers and students, to understand what our roles are and what our calling is. They provide us with chances to practice, opportunities to develop discipleship habits.
Teachers use each of these "peculiar people" as well as the Throughlines to connect each unit’s learning outcomes to God’s story. This process shifts the learning focus away from “what” the student needs to know to “who” the student is called to be. These Throughlines characteristics weave through the Bible and describe a calling to “be”, not simply to “do”. They can also be considered “wholines” because they describe who we are. Interestingly, TfT teachers often find that the students absorb the “stuff” of the unit better because they have a meaningful context for the learning.
Throughlines are big picture ideas. Throughlines are qualities/characteristics that we desire students to develop as God is revealed to them in all things. They are discipleship concepts that guide our living. These characteristics describe how we can become part of the restoration of creation. They answer, “How NOW shall I live?” Throughlines weave the big ideas into a transformational worldview. A key component of the TfT program is that teachers are challenged not simply to tell the students about the Throughlines but to provide actual opportunities for the students to “live” the chosen Throughlines in each unit.
And what does God call us to “be”? He calls us to be Servant Workers, to be Justice Seekers, to be Earth Keepers, to be Community Builders. He calls us to be Creation Enjoyers, Order Discoverers, and Beauty Makers. And in all of these, He calls every disciple to be God Worshippers, and Image Reflectors. Here we get a wider picture of the roles that God has called us to be as Christians.
Students will understand that worshipping God is about celebrating who God is, what God has done and is doing, and what God has created. It is literally about standing in awe and wonder of God and His promises. Students will see this worship as a way of life.
Students need to learn to “read” a worldview by asking questions about what is being portrayed in regard to culture, values, and belief systems. Through the curriculum students will be challenged to identify, understand, and lay bare the idols of our time (and times past). But this is not the end. Students need to test these ideas against the Transformational worldview and be modern day prophets.
Students will respond to God’s call to be stewards of all of creation. Caretaking can so easily succumb to exploiting. We need to reclaim and relearn how to respectfully treat the world/universe and all things contained in it. This is a matter of respecting God and it is our responsibility to be earth-keepers.
Students will create beauty that praises God and enriches our world. Creation shouts that our God is a God who loves diversity, complexity, and creativity. Being an image bearer means having the ability and responsibility to discover, respond to, develop, use, and improve the world God has placed us in.
Students will act as agents of restoration. The world is not as God intended it to be. We lead our students to see the injustices in this world - but seeing these things can’t be where we stop. We need to enable students to act as agents of restoration by BOTH identifying and responding to injustices. What a responsibility and privilege!
Students will celebrate God’s beautiful creation and give testimony to the presence of God in creation. Creation enjoying is looking at, talking about, studying creation. Ordinary things become extraordinary when seen in a new way. Creation enjoying is helping to coax the “songs of joy” (Ps. 65:8) from ourselves and from our students.
Students will work actively to heal brokenness and bring joy to individuals and to culture. Being an image bearer means having the ability and responsibility to discover, respond to, develop, use, and improve the world that God has placed us in. We need to cultivate in our students the desire and ability to offer hope, healing, and restoration to this world and its people.
Students will be active pursuers and builders of community, in their classrooms, their neighbourhoods, and in the global village they are part of. Students need to learn to pursue shalom - to be active and eager examples of peaceful/shalom-filled communities. Our classrooms will be communities of grace where students will learn to walk and work together in peace.
Students bear the image of God in their daily lives. Being an image bearer isn’t something we DO. It is deeper than that. Image bearer is what we ARE. We reflect God’s image! And we learn to see God’s image in others. The more Christ-like our actions are, the more clearly Christ’s light shines in a dark world.
Students see God’s fingerprints all over creation. When we read the creation account we read a story of God creating order out of chaos. There is purpose in God’s creation and we are able to discover this amazing order within creation. One of the inescapable conclusions for our students.