Still buying IBM?

By Ken Behr

I was a business manager in the 1990s, and at the time there was an axiom that said, “No one ever gets fired for buying IBM.”

IBM was “Big Blue,” and they had a commanding share of the market.  Their computers were well known and built to last; yet, at the same time, anything but cutting-edge.  The saying was true in that buying IBM was safe, predictable and boring.

I was one of those people who didn’t like doing or recommending things because they were safe.  To me, it seemed like there were great opportunities for those that had taken risks.  I became one of those managers that was known as a risk-taker.  It served my employers well, but sometimes made my career felt a little shaky.  Nevertheless, risk-taking is not an option but a requirement.  Every business today started because someone took a chance; someone started something that was risky.

If innovation and risk-taking are necessary in all organizations, that certainly includes the church.  One of the reasons we have many local churches today that have 10,000 or more members is because church leaders were willing to take risks; they were willing to be innovative.

Creativity and a willingness to change and fail are qualities that we need in our local churches.   While these are traits we desire in our lead pastors, they’re just as important in all other roles – from youth minister to business administrator.

Creativity can be as simple as introducing a new song or event, and can be as challenging as selling all of the church’s existing buildings and relocating in the inner city.  “Buying IBM” was an easy way to not get fired back in the 1990’s.  However, some of those employees and companies eventually lost everything because their organizations were no longer growing; their products and services had become irrelevant; and their competitors had taken over their customers.

Ken Behr is an executive pastor at Christ Fellowship, Palm Beach Gardens, FL.


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