Teaching for Transformation

TFT provides a framework for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences that are grounded in a transformational worldview with a focus on seeing and living out God’s story. 

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” - Abraham Kuyper  


Biblical 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 & thus undertake their life’s expression of that desire.” - J.K.A. Smith


What a complex challenge to imagine what it is to be a “peculiar” person in God’s story! Sonrise has identified ten biblical Throughlines 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 practise and opportunities to develop discipleship habits. 


Teachers use Throughlines to connect each unit’s learning outcomes to God’s story, as a type of “thematic Velcro”, carefully choosing, together with the students, one or two Throughlines they want to learn about as they explore the topic. 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 learning. 


Throughlines are big picture ideas around which we can organize curriculum. 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, Idolatry Discerners, Order Discoverers, and Beauty Creators. 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.




God Worshipper

Students 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 Him and His promises. Students see this worship as a way of life and appreciate God’s all sufficient grace and their faith journey.  

  • Learning Target: I can worship God in all parts of my life. 

Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Psalm 100:1-2: “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.” 

Image Reflector

Students bear the image of God in their daily lives. Being an image bearer isn’t just something we do. It is something we are. We learn to see God’s image in others. Students weave The Big Story into all areas of life and apply the stories of Scripture, seeing God’s faithfulness in the lives of His people, including their own. The more Christ-like our actions are, the more clearly Christ’s light shines in a dark world. Students are nurtured in the characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  

  • Learning Target: I can develop my talents and gifts to reflect God and bless others. 

Matthew 5:16: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” 

Earth Keeper

Students will respond to God’s call to be stewards of all of creation, including mankind. They will reclaim and relearn how to respectfully treat the world/universe and all things contained in it, which respects God.  

  • Learning Target: I can respect and care for all parts of God’s world. 

Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 

Creation Enjoyer

Students will discover, understand, and celebrate God’s beautiful creation and give testimony to the presence of God in creation. Ordinary things become extraordinary when seen in new ways. We see joy in the interrelated creation.  

  • Learning Target: I can discover, enjoy, and celebrate God’s creation. 

Psalm 65:8: “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” 

Order Discoverer

Students see God’s fingerprints all over creation. God has created order out of chaos. There is purpose, and we are able to discover the order. God has a plan, and we are part of that plan.  

  • Learning Target: I can see and rejoice in God’s fingerprints throughout all of creation. 


Colossians 1:16-17: “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” 

Idolatry Discerner

Students will understand that when other “things” are more important to us than our relationship with God, they become idols. They need to learn to analyze a worldview by asking questions about what is being portrayed in regard to culture, values, and belief systems. They are reminded that every square inch we explore, learn, discern, or encounter in education and life is informed by a strong understanding of the Bible and will discern and inform decisions with Scripture. Students will be challenged to identify, understand, and discern the idols of our time and times past and then to respond as modern day prophets.  

  • Learning Target: I can recognize idols in my life and choose to focus on the true God. 

Deuteronomy 11:16: “Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.” 

Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Beauty Creator

As image bearers of a creative God, students will glorify and praise God by creating that which is beautiful and pleasing to Him. This offering of creativity isn’t optional – it’s a joyful duty that students offer as a sacrifice of praise. Creation shouts that our God is a God who loves diversity, complexity, and creativity.  

  • Learning Target: I can glorify God through my creativity. 

Genesis 1:31: “ God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day.” 

Servant Worker

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 God has placed us in. Students cultivate the desire and ability to offer hope, healing, and restoration to the world and its people, using our talents and gifts to serve God and others.  

  • Learning Target: I can bring joy and healing to others through service.

1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 

Community Builder

Students will be active pursuers and builders of community in their classrooms, their neighbourhoods, and in the global village they are part of. Our classrooms will be communities of grace where students will walk and work together in peace. We seek to be loving and joyful in our work and play.  Learning Target: I can understand and build community. 

Psalm 133:1: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” 

Justice Seeker

Students will understand the summary of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration and see the pattern first in their own lives, recognizing their need for the Saviour. Students will then act as agents of change by identifying and responding to injustices while recognizing the same need in others. The world is not as God intended it to be. Everything is tainted by sin. We need to respond to God’s call to act as His disciples, respecting the stories and hurts of others and pointing them to the Perfect Judge, who will do right. 

  • Learning Target: I can see injustice and try to respond with love and fairness. 

Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”