Section A: I Am = Us for Them There
The highly contextual nature of relationships and cultures make it
necessary for great freedom in form. Distributed churches are
developed around biblical principles, not specific procedures and
rules. The New Testament writers understood this. So, the goal isn't
to develop a list of uniform should's and how to's, but rather to
identify the right principles that can be applied in any context.
The goal of this Field Guide is not to answer every question, but
rather to pose the key questions that need to be answered in your
In the midst of this vast diversity of form, there are still
patterns that emerge. Healthy distributed churches display unifying
attributes. The writers of the Scriptures often refer to the church
as the body of Christ. Just as no one body looks identical to
another, we still find consistent attributes that are likely present
in a healthy body.
A distributed church…
…centers on God and forms around others.
…honors God for who He is, and what He has done as revealed
through the Scriptures.
…understands “church” as a spiritual family of people and
as a way of life.
…values and encourages every-member participation in the
extension of the church.
…seeks to identify the gifts and abilities of each person
in the church.
…includes the unincluded (see Evangelism).
…disciples one another (see Establish).
…develops leaders (see Entrust).
…multiplies (see Repeat).
…is linked through relationships and technology with other
churches in a network (in a spirit of accountability and
…is a church. Though a distributed church may be integrated
with a larger resource center, it is not a small group, cell
group, Bible study, or other subset of a church. A distributed
church takes responsibility for the ministry to its members and
supports them to carry out the mission in their particular
context, there. Distributed churches partner with a resource
center so they can be more effective in their ministry; they
don’t solely refer needs to the resource center or function