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Lead 3-11

Creative Problem Solving

You woke up late, didn’t get to wash your hair, your dog ate your lunch, your best friend just dumped you and you’re supposed to lead a Bible study today on "the victorious Christian life." But you don’t feel very victorious right now and besides, things aren’t going the way you’ve expected with your group. What do you do? As a leader in your campus ministry, you will need to be able to solve problems as they arise. Fortunately, there are some basic steps you can learn that apply to almost any problem.

Follow these steps:

1. Diagnose.
Figure out where the problem began. This might seem easier than it really is. Just as doctors have to look deeper than the symptoms to find the root cause of a disease, you have to take a hard look to find what the real problem is before you start looking for answers.

2. Pick the one most important problem.
Don’t try to solve all your problems at once. Prioritize them and work on them one at a time. Ask yourself, "Which of these problems has the greatest potential to do long-term damage?"

3. Get the facts.
At this point, opinions don’t matter. You just want the facts. Learning how to ask the right questions is key.
Like detectives solving a case, you want to know who is involved with the problem, how does it occur, how often – anything relating to the circumstances of the problem.

4. Stop, look and listen.
Try to see the problem from a distance. Problems can seem overwhelming up close, but when we look at them in view of the "big picture," we’re able to gain perspective on the problem. Ask God to help you see it from His perspective. James 1 tells us that if we ask God for wisdom in a situation, He promises to give it to us if we are willing to trust Him. As much as we don’t like them, problems can be used by God to improve our character. It causes us to lean on Him more. In doing so you will experience a walk with Him that is closer than you have ever experienced.

5. Use your noggin!
Think about what principles are being violated in this problem. God created this world and so He set it up with principles (these are found in His Word, the Bible); when problems arise it’s because someone has violated one of His principles.
Find others who you look up to for their counsel to give you advice and help you brainstorm solutions.

Come up with as many solutions as you can and then pick the one that seems best. Remember that there are no perfect solutions. Ask yourself: "What is right?" "Will it allow everyone to win?" "Does what we stand to gain outweigh what we stand to lose?"

6. Take action
Once you’ve decided on your course of action, there is no advantage to waiting to put it into action (unless, of course, the solution is to wait). A problem is a lot like a hungry bear: The longer you wait to kill it, the bigger it grows. Kill your problems before they grow big and come eat you for lunch. Then you can get onto the really big stuff, like what to do about your dog eating your lunch!

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