The Issue Of Overfamiliarity

Something to think about:

This issue of Overfamiliarity between the church congregation and church leadership has been a tough issue for years… on one hand, it is much harder to lead people that maybe have become a little too comfortable with you and that effects your leadership ability over them in a negative way…but on the other side of the issue I think the following carries some weight:

Thoughts on Overfamiliarity…

When people become “familiar” with you, do they:

Respect you more or less?

See christ in you more or less?

Desire to follow your leading more or less?

Respect your opinions more or less?

The more people get to know you… what are they finding?

The problem of “overfamiliarity” lies with what they are becoming overfamiliar to.

The more the disciples and followers knew jesus or became familiar with him… the more they loved him… the more they respected him… the more they followed and listened to him…the more his authenticity and teachings were revealed to be true…

Are people finding you to be more or less authentic the more they get to know you?

Do they find that you are more passionate and consistent in everyday life or less?

More devoted to studying the word of God… or less?

Do you welcome people to find out about the “real” you… or do you do everything you can to prevent it?

We are called to become as familiar with christ as possible… so why are we afraid of people becoming “familiar” with us… what are we scared they will find out… if we are living like christ… then people becoming more familiar with us would only point them to christ even more.

Something to think about… should there be a line between leader and led?… how close is too close?…



  1. For me I feel being close to your leaders creates a stronger bond in the church that’s why I love TN so much, others churches your separated from the leaders and pastors so much it’s hard to feel your apart of the church but when you can hang out at lunch or dinner with your leaders, pastors, mentors…. I think that’s an amazing connection you can’t replace and if anything it makes the leaders keep there attitude and veiws in check bc there constantly around people who are looking up to them , I don’t know if this was the excact subject you were touching but just my thoughts thanks

    • Yeah totally, Erik. I completely agree with you on how we have such a great family dynamic at church (which is the way it should be). But sometimes a problem arises when certain people take this relationship for granted and begin to diminish the authority of those in leadership by becoming “overfamiliar” with them. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with how close you are to someone else, but more so, how you treat and respect the relationship.

  2. John, this is such a great post! It’s so true how as “leaders,” we really need to lead the way in how we live life. Regardless of what we’re doing, are people seeing more or less of Jesus in us? On the flip side of this, it’s interesting to think how we can look at leaders and instantly think of the “familiar friend” instead of the “leader God has called.” It reminds me of Jesus when he goes to Nazareth in Matthew 13:53-58.

    When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

    We have to remember that God’s calling for other people is greater than their reputation, and more importantly, our opinion of them. In Matthew, it talks about how Jesus CHOSE not to do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to be in a “Nazareth church!”

    If we want to see the impossible happen, if we want God to move, then we need to acknowledge the leaders He is raising up in the church, encouraging and respecting them along the way. We have to follow before we lead.

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