Last time we saw how a careful analysis reveals some of the underlying causes of the conspicuous problem an individual faces. As our example we took Multiple Deprivation as evidenced in an individual’s homelessness.
If we are to offer a long-lasting sustainable solution to help that person have the dignity of long-term independence it is no use just providing for the things where there is a lack. Examining the roots of the problem allows us to address the true underlying issues. Some of these may be very long-term e.g. improved parenting for the next generation does not solve our particular individual’s problem. It is too late. However, help towards employment in order to generate income for housing may be achieved by skills training.
The Solution Tree
This may be created as a separate diagram. But for the purposes of this teaching I have included some possible solutions in red superimposed on the Problem Tree we considered last time, as shown below. This shows how there is now an upward flow, as with natural nutrition in a tree, to help produce health at the top.
The centre ‘root’ has two different causes in this very simplified illustration. For one, Substance Abuse, there are solutions which can help the individual if this is his problem. But if we see this and Bad Parenting as contributory factors to Family Breakdown the solutions are clearly long-term and typically need both time and specialist provision to begin to break in on this cycle of deprivation.
As we move on into planning our particular ministry we may have to ‘park’ some of these problems and solutions as being beyond the scope of a church-based ministry, at least in the initial phases. However, by going through this Problem/Solution exercise we gain an appreciation of where our particular gifting and activity fits into the bigger scene and we can be alert to opportunities that God may open up for us in due course either directly or in partnership with some other church or ministry.
Next time we shall begin to look at a systematic way of planning ministry to embrace the solutions we have identified as potentially coming within our scope and ability.