Janet Wolfe has been innovative in a much-needed ministry to single people in the church across the UK at a time when there was nothing on offer apart from secular dating agencies. She is moving on to serve God in other ways.
Keep The Faith caught up with Janet to find out more about her ministry and how her ministry is helping single people in the church.
Keep The Faith (KTF): Tell us a bit about the work you have been doing.
Janet Wolfe (JW): For the past 10 years I’ve poured my heart & soul into serving singles in the church. After a few unsuccessful relationship experiences, a failed marriage and then, one significant experience within the church, when I discovered that some Christian men think it’s ok to date several women at the same time: then one casually proposed to one of these women, in church, in front of the others; I was catapulted into this ministry initially, on a mission to do something about that!
It’s so amazing when you know you have been chosen and purposed to do something very special in life. My days would start and end with this mission uppermost in mind, to teach singles who they are in the eyes of God and what He has in mind for them.
I have been serving with a passion, praying, teaching, sharing, supporting singles in the church and in particular, working with leaders across UK churches sharing ideas & resources to support those working with the overwhelming numbers of single people in our churches (and, in particular Women) every day since through a ministry called CSLN, Christian Singles Leaders Network. Hundreds of Singles events have been organised to give Christian single people social opportunities to connect and form Godly friendships.
KTF: What is your proudest achievement in this ministry?
JW: There have been a few. Knowing God has been working through me is Major! I had to learn to take the step of faith then just allow Him to lead me. I am proud of this, one of my biggest and boldest accomplishments. Many can attest to the fact that this ministry has transformed their lives by bringing people together over the years for both platonic friendships as well as marriage. I feel privileged to have attended and witnessed many unions especially of couples from the more mature singles age group. Many who thought they had missed the boat then realising it’s never too late.
I was nominated by members of the Christian Singles Community for the WWA Award in 2012 and then a few years later i was nominated a second time and this time, won the Award for Woman in Ministry.
So many people tell me that they have been inspired by what I’ve done and am doing.
When I first heard that some Singles and Singles leaders were planning an Appreciation Evening in my honour, I was a little embarrassed but also appreciative.
The flier for the event was posted on social media and I have to admit that when I stumbling across it, it was a very strange experience, seeing something with my photograph on it, that i wasn’t already involved in. I’m usually the organiser.
Following that, i had a little snoop around to see what i could find out. Everyone I spoke to about it told me to…stop asking questions. I soon settled into accepting the idea that, maybe I should allow others to do something for me for a change otherwise I might possibly go a whole lifetime without taking a bow as well as sharing a good laugh with so many wonderful people I have met during my singles ministry journey. Looking at all the wonderful things that I’ve been involved in and, last but definitely not least, to take the time to Thank God for purposing me in such a spectacular ministry, a part of the church congregation that became invisible.
I am passionate about singles in the church and always will be. Your life’s purpose always lies where your passion is. I absolutely love it! Yes!!! I’m going to celebrate all the hard work that has been done to raise the profile of Christian singles, because it’s merited and deserved.
KTF: Has singles ministry changed over the years?
JW: Definitely yes. There is a whole lot more focus on Singleness these days, than when I started out in 2010. It’s not a negative thing but there are specific needs which must be addressed.
I think this current pandemic has also highlighted singleness in a new way when many suddenly saw the relevance of our work when experiencing another level of loneliness during lockdown.
It hasn’t been an easy journey especially when you are the first person to do something as you have no pattern to work from.
I’ve always focussed on the importance of networking across churches, and many people attending my events in the early days were surprised that my pastor was allowing me to run events for singles. They would ask for advice as to how they should approach their Pastor if they wanted to do the same.
To many reading this now, it may sound strange knowing people are talking about singleness all the time in their churches and across social media. The stigma was very much present when I started. Talking about themes like dating, sex and singleness was seen as being carnal minded.
I wanted to share what I’ve learnt about what God has to say to singles, how he uses singles, His plan for our lives, relationships, preparing for marriage and also what I’ve observed over the years in terms of how to make our Churches more singles friendly and more attractive to men.
I feel truly privileged to have been invited to speak at many churches and events across the UK and even attending an event in USA. My plan when I go into my retirement is finally write a book. It’s important for me to do this, to share everything I have learnt. Those following me will not need to re-invent the wheel.
KTF: Who is taking over the Christian Singles Leaders Network?
JW: I prayed about this as I knew God wanted to continue this ministry and move it to the next level. I didn’t have to wait that long for the answer to my prayers. A firecracker called Sara Jayne turned up last year to our Annual Leaders Dinner. I knew exactly who she was when God sent her and I’m so happy to be able to pass the baton on. She’s going to be great!
She is a woman blessed with many talents. She’s a doctor, a writer, a preacher, a singer and the Director of a new Christian dating agency, she is so full of zeal & enthusiasm for Singles which is very important. I found that enthusiasm rejuvenates the souls, giving us the passion and power to keep moving forward for the challenges ahead. I think every great venture begins and is sustained and powered by enthusiasm. Having a passion for what you do is essential if you want to do great things.
KTF: How did your faith help you?
JW: My faith, grew exponentially during these years. I was literally walking in the dark and had to be led by God. Each time I succeed I was reminded all things are possible only with God. My faith has been a testament to my character to deliver what I say I’m going to do with a spirit of excellence.
Some people may see me as someone who is self-assured, happy and at peace with my single status and who i am and, on the whole they are right. However, I’ve had a lot of knocks along the way, times when I wanted to give up, times when great dents were put in my confidence.
Confidence comes in the belief and trust that other people place in you. There were people whose support i had expected, in building me up, promoting the work i was doing, helping me believe that I could achieve the vision and goals God set out before me but, who weren’t there when it really counted. God used these experiences to shape me. Constantly sand-papering off the rough edges and moulding me into what He needed me to be.
KTF: What would you like to pass on to others ?
JW: I would like to pass on that there are some good views climbing your daily mountains as a single, but they say the best views can be enjoyed when you have arrived at the top of the mountain so keep climbing, don’t give up.
I’ve received so many Blessings for my giving and serving. I’m so glad i left my home and went out and enjoyed myself, shared my gifts with others. I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. I met some amazing people, formed some great lifetime friendships.
It’s great to have this opportunity to look back, knowing that I’ve achieved something good and celebrating that, inspires me to lift others up. For every great achievement we have, i believe in working by the principle of multiplication, teaching others to do the same.