Familiarity can hinder breakthrough

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Familiarity can hinder breakthrough

By Ivan Ho     1 May 2015


Most modern churches, when they get to certain size, tend to put people into groups according to their age, background, interests and so on, and call them “life groups” or “cell groups”. Some groups have the same people of similar backgrounds and life experiences meet together for years and years, and become so strongly bonded that they become strong “clicks”. They become so at home and familiar with each other. Little do they know, gradually they have also boxed themselves in over time, forming opinions on each other within the group, and confining others to those familiar rolls according to how they grow up seeing each other.

Subconsciously, they even put a tag on you that says: “so and so, a pastor” or however they cast you. They expect you to behave like a pastor for the rest of your life.

You would think your family, relatives and the people you grow up with over the past 10 years or so are your greatest supporters to your breakthrough? If that is the case, I rejoice with you, for more often than not, the opposite is true.


And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

Mark 6:2-6

There you have it: Jesus could do no major miracles in His hometown where His relatives, His own household and neighbourhood saw Him grow up. Jesus grew up from childhood before their eyes and did not start His public ministry until He turned thirty. Because people in His hometown were so used to seeing Jesus, they became familiar with Him. As a result of familiarity, they did not expect anything out of the ordinary from Jesus.

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