Transformational education is about bringing in the kingdom of God and assisting students to participate in it.
It embraces the Gospel as a way of life, a way of thinking, a way of doing ethics, a way of making choices, so that it cannot be segregated out from any other part of life and/or be compartmentalized.
Transformational education embraces and synchronizes the two biblical mandates: the Great Commission (Matthew 28) and the Cultural Mandate (Genesis 1). The Great Commission emphasizes the transformation of the individual soul, mind, heart, and body. The Cultural Mandate emphasizes the transformation of culture, society, technology, and all other human endeavors.
It works towards the transformation of all of life including culture, society, economics, and government. The principles and message of the Gospel are not confined to the pulpit or the seminary, but are carried to the court room, the Parliament session, the election, and the Board room.
It encourages, anticipates, and welcomes change and discovery. It understands the Gospel to be oppositional to the status quo and views changes and discoveries in science, medicine, and technology as fulfillments of the Cultural Mandate.
Transformational education is intrinsically optimistic. It views all things, institutions, and people to be under process, moving towards a final day when the ultimate conquest of Christ is concluded. When all is subjected under his feet, then the end shall come. Christians who understand the transformational power of the Gospel are optimistic agents in that transformation.
It has a unified view of life that does not deal in false dichotomies like “sacred” and “secular,” but sees actions, thoughts, and aspirations as being “right” and “wrong,” “godly” and “not godly,” “biblical” and “not biblical.”
It perceives all vocations, all pursuits, all endeavors as holy and godly activities when carried out by a person who has been transformed. All vocations, therefore, are priestly when carried out by Christian agents of transformation.
Transformational education focuses on the future where current students will become effective agents of transformation as governors, presidents, legislators, parents, employees, and employers.
As practiced by our member schools, Transformational education is distinctive
Because transformational education is about bringing in the kingdom of God, it is characterized by diligence, godly optimism, the highest forms of professionalism and accountability, and receiving each child as a unique gift of God to be cherished, loved, and esteemed.
Schooling is one of the tools used by God to bring in his kingdom and to train his kingdom workers, generation after generation. Therefore, we embrace high standards of anticipated academic outcome and high standards of teaching. As educators, we are agents of transformation in the lives and minds of children.
As schools we stand apart from a somewhat prevalent version of Christian schooling that tends to glamorize the pulpit, the evangelist, and the missionary, and considers as “dirty” or “lesser” other areas, such as politics, economics, law, and government. The latter teaches a false dichotomy that speaks of “full time Christian ministry” and “lay people” and “secular” and “sacred.” This often results in a compartmentalization of the Gospel. Students educated in this fashion tend to live in two worlds with separate compartments, the world of devotion and worship, and the world of work and play.
American Christian fundamentalism of the 19th and 20th centuries tended to produce Christian schools that emphasized fulfilling the Great Commission but ignored the Cultural Mandate. Christian liberalism of the 19th and 20th centuries tended to produce Christian schools that emphasized fulfilling the Cultural Mandate but ignored the Great Commission. Our schools strive to be faithful to both of the biblical mandates.
We have an optimistic view of God and his kingdom. We do not present to students a view of life where evil is seen to be triumphing more and more and the saints being reduced in their importance and impact. We encourage students to see God and Christ as victors, whose victory has already been won, the ultimate, final display of this victory coming into view more and more, and that as Christians we are part of that victorious process. Hence, we pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven!”
Our schools ask continually for grace to avoid legalism which tends to externalize the Gospel by setting up certain standards of dress, appearance, and lists of do’s and don’ts and to equate these with godly morality. We understand all too well how students learn to “play the game” in such a system, and then to reject it when they leave the school, supposing this to be the Gospel.
We also ask continually for grace to avoid moralism, which tends to “teach a lesson” (usually of a negative nature and usually by “telling”) through every situation rather than to guide students through individual, Spirit-led decision making and choice selection, and practicing patience to allow students to learn by making poor choices. And yet, we teach and strive to live by the principles of Scripture and to follow the One who said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”