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Healthy Small Group Leaders Are Friends with Non-Christ-Followers

The attributes for healthy small group leaders includes many things. One that is not usually on the list but that I believe is vital is that they intentionally build and invest into friendships with folks who do not yet have a relationship with Christ.
Small group leaders may or may not have the spiritual gift of evangelism, but they do intentionally seek out friendships with those who are seeking and those who could care less about God. These friendships are genuine and unconditional—no strings attached. Yes, they pray diligently for their non-Christ-following friends and watch for opportunities to share their story and the gospel, but they don’t “use” the friendship to force conversations about Christ. Rather they allow God to use them to shine his light. They allow the overflow of God’s love to pour out of their lives naturally.
Jesus was known as a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Luke 7:34)

Healthy leaders model this Christ-like attribute for the rest of the group. They model praying regularly for friends and neighbors who do not yet know Christ. They model inviting friends to the group. They team with other group members to pray for and reach out to seeking friends. They get out of their comfort zone to go into the world of non-Christians.

What do you think? Would you consider this an attribute of a healthy small group leader? Why or why not?

This post excerpted from my new book, Small Group Vital Signs, available in 2011 from Touch Publications.