Principles of Local Church 10: Be the Best

Israel loved Joseph more than all his children (Genesis 37.3). There is a real culture in most workplaces that no one wants to be the boss’s favourite, no one wants to be the office creep. But if an organization is functioning properly, being the favourite means you are treating the most important people as the most important. What do I mean? Your colleagues are not paying you, they do not promote you, they do not give you payrises, they do not make decisions that will change your life.

You should be God’s favourite and your pastor’s favourite. You should be operating in favour so much you are the favour-ITE! Now I am not saying be pretentious, be a creep, being disingenuous. I am not saying be a creep! I am not saying be the chief bootlicker.

In most companies, and most churches, promotion is given to the favourites. You do not want someone promoted who you do not want to spend time with. You want to be favoured in local church, be prepared to be favoured – the favourite.

Being a favourite is not easy, it’s not in the slightest. You need to find out what someone likes and help them. In the office, work out what makes the boss happy and do it. He is the one who pays you! Some bosses love it when you are enthusiastic about starting a project, others do not care about progress until it is finished – find out and do that! Discover who is paying you, who is opening doors for you – and do what pleases them, learn to flow with them. You were called to their church or ministry, they were not called to yours. You are the one who has to learn to flow with them! Selah.

For example, I like punctuality. I do not promote people who cannot turn up to someone else’s service on time, because I don’t think they will turn up on time for their own church services or Living Churches. That will not do. That’s a small thing, but it is a thing that matters. I look around before the service starts on Sunday and go that’s who I am drawing my next leaders from.

Joseph was Israel’s favourite, then Potiphar’s favourite, then the jailer’s favourite, then Pharaoh’s favourite. Everywhere he was called to serve, he became the favourite. He worked hard, he found out what was needed, and he did it. He did it in such a way he flowed with them, he did not demand that they flowed with him. He was the one who was adaptable, he was the one who ensured he changed his clothes to visit Pharaoh, he was the one who ensured he was looking out for the prisoners even though he was a prisoner.

I know people who lie to my face and then wonder why I don’t promote them. I have a threefold principle for promotion. Character, Capability and Compatibility. Character – are they a decent person, capability – can they do the job I want to give to them, Compatibility – can they work with me. Some people would be fine elders in another church but could not be elders in Tree of Life because they could never work with me, they would be too demanding that I change to their style. They have no desire to be favoured by me.

I had a pastor once who would come and confront me after I taught something on a semi-regular basis. I would teach a message, and he would come to me and say “that’s not grace, that’s not a grace message, this is supposed to be a grace church”. I would try to show him the Biblical basis of what I was teaching, but he would not listen. Then after a few months, we would have a guest speaker, once it was Greg Mohr, once Greg Fritz and once Andrew Wommack. The speaker came to our church, and said word for word what I had taught. Then this pastor would come to me and go “oh, I see that what you said was grace now, I heard Greg Mohr say it”. We went through this a long time. Eventually I had to say to him, none of these people promoted you to pastor, none of these people gave you a church to pastor, none of these people believed in you and raised you up, I did. I cannot wait for a guest speaker to come to town before you accept what I am teaching as grace. You have to be able to work with me and learn from my preaching and teaching not just guest speakers.” In the end I had to let him go, he had godly character, he was capable, but he and I were not compatible. This is so essential and we must understand it.

If you want to work with something bigger than yourself, you have to work on being the favourite, work on being compatible, be adaptable, be flexible, learn to flow with the church God put you in. That will be essential for you to progress.

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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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