Dealing With Actors 06: Spotting Over-Familiarity

In our last two posts, we shared the dangers of over-familiarity. Over-familiarity is when someone acts like they are your friend, that they are intimate with you, but they only know surface things about you. Because of this, their friendship does not have the appropriate level of respect. An attitude like that stopped Jesus working miracles in Nazareth, so that it is vital that as a leader you learn to spot the signs. Both in yourself so you can make sure you receive your miracles, and in others so you can teach and train them so they can receive their miracles.

  1. When People Enter Into Discussions that are not their concern. Remember Peter actually rebuked Jesus for saying that He was going to die. Just because Jesus and Peter were close enough for Jesus to share this important information, did not mean Peter was at the level where he could rebuke Jesus for having the “wrong” plan of salvation. I have people comment on what I eat, my cat, my travel schedule. If people feel they can make comments on personal things without you asking their input, they are stepping into over-familiarity. Peter had one revelation. One good prophetic word, about who Jesus was. Jesus told Him “you got that straight from the Father”, and the praise went straight to Peter’s ego, who before that same conversation was over was correcting Jesus. (Leaders should be corrected, but not by the people who are working for them, not by the people they have raised up, and not by people pretending to be over-familiar!)
  2. Over-Familiar People Find Faults. They look at you on a natural level, so over time will make carnal judgments about you. In Nazareth they thought about Jesus’ family, brothers, sisters, and on a natural level “realized” he could do no mighty work, and guess what happened – they received nothing from Him. Being over-familiar becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of receiving nothing.
  3. Over-Familiar People Attract Fault-Finders. Always beware of the people in any church who all the grumblers and complainers are attracted to! Church does not need a union rep!
  4. Over-Familiar People Tell Rather than Ask.
  5. Over-Familiar People Presume they are Entitled to Your Privileges. We have people get up and start praying for people on Sunday like they are elders and were never given permission. They presume on privilege! That is a dangerous familiarity! We had a pastor recently change his title on his emails. He stopped using the title we gave him, and started using his own one. That is a dangerous level of presumption. He didn’t even ask once. If that kind of over-familiarity is not dealt with, it will grow into pride and rebellion. Anyone who resents you and your privilege can be tempted into over-familiarity.
  6. Over-Familiar People Are Never Thankful. They just feel entitled to be doing what they are doing. They never thank you for getting up early to write a message to help them. It is all about them.
  7. Over-Familiar People are Bored when you are Preaching. The people who fall asleep, yawn and watch their watch. They are over-familiar with you. I have never been stabbed in the back by someone who takes notes when I preach! If they get up and start talking to others while you are preaching, that’s a giant big sign.
  8. Over-Familiar People Are Rude. They just have no manners when talking to you, they are stroppy, immature and may storm off. They will also be rude to anyone you have given authority to – that is a real sign! When people raise their voice to you, they are not respecting their friendship with you.

Published by Tree of Life Church

We are a growing network of growing churches, with services weekly in Dagenham, Guildford, Watford, Croydon, Brentwood and Dorset. We are also planting churches in Cambridge, Suffolk, West Midlands and Hemel. Find out more at, and

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