Here’s an idea for anyone who has a problem to overcome. It could be a complex situation, a difficult relationship, a lack of resources… I’m sure there’s plenty to spring to mind. So why not try this out.

Take your problem, and write it out as an anonymous case study. Strip out the names, and write it down as a dispassionate situation, as if you were setting an exam question. E.g.

A youth leader is struggling in her relationship with her church. The youth group she runs is growing in number and in faith, but the church don’t seem happy with it. Previously they had been supportive, but now that the church itself is declining in membership and in finance, the church leader and many of the key elders are suggesting they should not be subsidising a youth group where many of the young people do not actually attend the church. The youth leader suspects uncertainty over the future and fear over a lack of funds are the biggest things to contribute to this situation.

  • Now, imagine you were given this problem situation as a case study or essay question. What action would you recommend to the person to help them resolve this difficulty?
  • If you were mentoring someone and they came to you with this situation, what action would you recommend they take?
  • If you were to take this situation to your mentor, what action do you think they would recommend?
  • If you were to take it to your ultimate hypothetical mentor (e.g. Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Bill Hybels, etc), what action do you think they would suggest you take?

So can you do any of those things?

Mentally take yourself out of the problem situation, turn it into an anonymous case study, and suddenly the way forward can become a lot clearer. It’s then a question of whether you have the courage to grasp the nettle, and try and implement your solution.

But remember, if you do nothing, chances are that nothing in your problem situation will change… save it slowly growing worse over time.

Mark Williamson is a founding director of One Rock International. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and is currently researching for a biography on William Wilberforce. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.