In Jim Collin’s book Good to Great he talks about the importance of having a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). His application is to business but it obviously applies to numerous other organizations, including churches. Often we’re just too short-sighted when it comes to goal-setting. We much prefer small and easy to big and audacious.
This Thursday I heard an example of a BHAG at the Noon Rotary Club. In 1984, Rotary International made it their goal to eradicate Polio from the world. Think about that one for a minute. Polio is a devastating disease that has affected millions of children. Before 1954 it was one of the most feared diseases in America and caused near panic, but shortly after the Salk vaccine it was eradicated in the United States. Yet, in 1984 it was still present if over 80 countries world-wide and there were a reported 1,000 cases per day. One BHAG and 24 years later there are only 1,500 cases per year and polio has been eliminated in all but four countries (Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Pakistan). The Rotary has contributed over 630 million dollars to the goal and have literally vaccinated billions of children around the world. That’s pretty remarkable.
How did they do it? A lot of people, doing a little at a time, to accomplish a common goal. For example, they recently asked their members to help finish the fight against polio by contributing just $20 dollars. If all 1.2 million members give it will equal $24 million! A little turns into a lot. What if the church did that? What BHAGs could we accomplish world-wide if the church universal rallied around a common goal? Eliminate hunger? End poverty? Provide clean drinking water for every person? Provide adequate health-care for every child? Eradicate a disease? It’s sounds idealistic and unachievable, but just think of the resources of the global church in terms of people and finances. If a lot did a little something big could happen.