Healthy Rural Churches: Part 2 – “The IBM Factor”…

Resources are scarce in many rural churches today. None of us have unlimited volunteers, facilities or cash on hand. Many of us have to “do without” in one or multiple areas of ministry. Others try to do logo-ibmeverything that the “big churches” do, but on a smaller scale.

The health marker we are going to talk about today is something that I discovered a few years ago, while doing an IT contract for IBM. The other person on my team for the night was a retired IBM “company man”. He told me about some of the changes that took place over the years working for them. He told me that in the ’70’s and ’80’s IBM made loads of different kinds of products. But they were not making money. In 2000-2005, IBM started selling off or shutting down divisions that were not making them money, often moving the best and brightest to other divisions. Their profits soared. Now they basically do two things, servers and service contracts – and very little else.

Apply this principle in a church that is struggling to do everything for everyone. All of a sudden, ministries that were doing nothing more than consuming resources (be it money or volunteers) are sunsetted, allowing those resources to be used in a ministry where the church is excelling. You start playing to the strengths of the church, its culture, and its place in the community. It can be a painful change, like a little bird emerging from an egg, but the end results are worth the pain.

What is your church doing to capitalize on its strengths? Let us know in the comments below…

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Brent Lacy

Youth Pastor. Web Designer. Homeschool Dad. Former Child Abuse Investigator. IT Technician. Writer. Lock-in Survivor. Rural Ministry Advocate. These all describe the experiences and stories that are part of Brent Lacy’s time in ministry. Brent grew up on 160 acres of corn, soybeans and cattle in Southern Illinois. He is currently a Rural Ministry Specialist with National Network of Youth Ministry (NNYM), based in Rockville, Indiana where he lives with his beautiful wife and three awesome kids in the Covered Bridge Capital of the World! His book "Rural Youth Ministry: Thrive Where You're Planted" is available at and on the Kindle Store.

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