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). Why? Because he “came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).

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.

Author: Michael Mack

Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

2 thoughts on “Healthy small group leaders are friends with non-Christ-followers”

  1. Yes. In fact, this is an attribute of any healthy spiritual leader. This kind of person intentionally puts themselves 'in the way' of those who do not yet follow Christ. I believe the degree to which this is not present in a small group leader's life (or any spiritual leader) will eventually be reflected in an unbalanced way in their ability to lead, nurture and disciple.

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