As a pastor or other leader, you have to recognize that certain groups of people are more vulnerable to over-familiarity. and help those people. Some people have a much greater tendency to over-familiar. There are five groups you need to be careful with, because none of us want to be in a place where we can do no mighty work!
- People Who Have Known You A Long Time. In Mark 6, the people who grew up with Jesus were over-familiar with Him. They thought they knew him, but could only see him as a carpenter and a boy from a family in their town. They did not see or know Him really, because they had no clue how anointed He was. They let their past image of him define who they thought he was and were over-familiar and that was a bad thing.
- People Who Know A Lot of Facts About You. The people knew Jesus was a carpenter, they knew his mum’s name, his brothers’ names. They knew him as their mates’ brother, the guy who built their shed, the boy who they saw at weddings and funerals and festivals. In other towns where people did not know those facts, Jesus could raise the dead and heal the sick and cast out devils. It’s strange that knowing facts leads to an over-familiarity, but it is true, people start to define you by facts not the call of God on your life.
- People Who Know Your Problems. Listen carefully, if you are a leader do not share your problems in public. You share them with your pastor, your mentor or your peers. Not your congregation. This sounds counter-intuitive, but you want to help people and pastor people – the more people know about your private discipleship, issues and just reality around you – the less they will be able to receive from you. I am not saying make yourself a mystery man, but speak life and not your problems if you want to have a miracle ministry!
- People Who Are Your Friends Can Be Tempted to Over-Familiarity. Pick your friends carefully, because friendship can expose over-familiarity. Jesus was friends with His disciples, and as pastors we should definitely be friends with our disciples, but we need to keep an eye on it. Jesus asked Peter a question once about what direction the ministry was going in – that’s a question you only ask safe people, that’s a question for friends. And Peter stepped out of line and tried to actually stop Jesus doing God’s will, so Jesus immediately rebuked him! Peter actually thought he had a better plan to reach the world than Jesus! Jesus knew not to let his friendship with Peter stop him doing God’s will or stop him being the leader. Selah!
- People Who Are Recently Promoted. New pastors often think they are at the same rank as other pastors and even the pastor who lay hands on them and commission them. That over-familiarity can cause them to stop listening. A little elevation and suddenly some people think they are equal to their leaders and pastors, and that will always end up in trouble. I have had to deal with that a few times – we appoint someone as an elder and they think they can now run the church and pastor us!