Dating can be difficult. As we grow older, it only becomes harder to meet other God-fearing believers who aren’t already attached.
They bare their hearts behind these initiatives, and share advice on seeking a spouse and waiting well.
What is a singles ministry?
GRACE: In a church context, it is a ministry where specific people will care for singles through mentorship, or by running singles’ events.
On my end, I am trying to create an ecosystem and marketplace for Christian dating. I aim to link up all the people involved in singles’ ministries, and present these contacts to singles so that they are aware of the available platforms out there.
How did God put it upon your heart to start the initiative?
JEN: As an introvert, I’ve always hoped that there would be more platforms for people to mingle or to expand their social circle, and I realised that my friends around me also shared the same concern.
The need was very glaring to me, and I felt drawn to the idea of starting a dating business in order to meet that need.
There are very few dating agencies that really focus on the Christian community, so I thought that if there could be a platform to help believers find love, it would be quite nice.
I feel like God put everything in place, marrying my passions and skill sets, and allowed me to see that I can be in a position to create a platform for people to come together.
GRACE: I studied accounting all my life, but I struggled to see how I could serve God through it. A year ago, I decided to quit my job and venture out. I tried video making, marketing and even acting!
Eventually, I came up with two business ideas that I pitched to various stakeholders. One was a church automation app, while the other was a dating app.
Interestingly, my idea for the dating app gained traction. However, it was expensive, so I decided to do up a website and organise singles’ events instead.
Thankfully, my church was supportive by availing their venue for me to run some of my activities.
How has running this ministry been so far? Any success stories to share?
JEN: In one of my speed dating events, there was a couple whose friends already wanted to introduce them to each other – there just wasn’t an opportunity to do so.
They both signed up for the event and amazingly, hit it off well! They’ve been married for about a year now and are serving together, which I found very encouraging.
Then at a games event we had, there were another two people who clicked well with one another. They have since been together for more than a year.
It’s these kinds of small success stories that make me feel like sparks can fly, and that these platforms are helpful for people.
GRACE: My ministry is quite new. I just started last year, and I’m still changing the way things are being done. In terms of achieving successful matches, I have not experienced that yet.
However, what I regard as success would be the friends I made through this ministry.
I also witnessed many participants connecting with other participants of the same gender to support each other beyond simply finding a match.
In fact, I recently held an event where the focus was not to find a partner, but to come back to God as our first love.
It was a craft event, but we ended up sharing so much that the craft was no longer the main activity!
It was nice to be able to relate to one another and to feel less alone in our singlehood.
What are some struggles you’ve faced as you run this ministry?
GRACE: I am figuring out how to manage the expectations of my participants.
For me, it is important to create an environment where my clients can focus on making friends first, before seeing where it goes from there.
However, people often base their expectations on previous dating events that they have attended.
They come with the intention of quickly sussing out if someone is suitable through a series of questions, then immediately moving on before even having established a connection.
As a single myself, I also used to approach dating events in a similar manner. But I’m hoping to be able to shift my participants’ mindsets – into really building friendships before anything else.
The greatest struggle of all is actually the thought that I am not worthy to be running this ministry.
Some people have told me: “Huh, you run a singles’ ministry? But you’re single – you yourself are also not successful.”
But recently in my reflections, I realised that while I cannot stop people from thinking that way, if God is my boss and God is happy – that is enough. Whenever I feel I am not enough, I remember it’s His ministry and not mine.
JEN: There is still some stigma surrounding dating apps or singles’ events.
When it comes to singles’ events, there are people who hold the idea that such events are inorganic. old-fashioned and view them as a last resort.
Considering the nature of the dating scene in Singapore, there is also the issue of choice paralysis — people always think that there are better options out there.
The sustainability of my ministry is also another struggle I face. My ministry is not profit-driven. Ultimately, I want to help bring people together.
I don’t want my clients to keep coming back or to have a long-term membership. Hopefully, they find someone and leave.
Where is the line between actively searching for a spouse and waiting patiently on the Lord?
JEN: I recall something Pastor Benny Ho mentioned, about how dating is not “let go and let God” but “trust God and get going”.
If God has put it in your heart to get attached and to get married, then I think it is important to take responsibility and put yourself out there.
We should do that, instead of waiting passively and growing bitter towards God.
… dating is not “let go and let God” but “trust God and get going”.
Even in our careers, to get a job that we want, we also prepare very hard and put ourselves out there to pursue progress.
Similarly, there is no shame in being intentional about finding a partner. You might think you come across as desperate, but I think it is about allowing God to lead you in the journey.
GRACE: Rather than a line, I see it as an order of things.
First, we need to wait upon the Lord. It’s about learning how to enjoy His presence, what it means to be His child and understanding that it is enough to be loved by Him.
With that in order, then the second thing we can ask ourselves is: “Do I want a relationship?”
If the answer is yes, actively and intentionally date. Don’t be passive about it. Put yourself out there, be it in singles’ events, dating apps or Christian conferences.
Go for it, as long as the order is right — God first. Tell Him honestly about your intentions of looking for a partner.
How have you seen God’s hand as you run the ministry?
JEN: One of the most evident ways God has shown up would be how He provides the gender ratio balance at my events, which has always been one of the greatest challenges.
It is important to have a 50-50 or at least minimally 60-40 gender ratio at my events, because I don’t want my participants to feel cheated when they find that the number of girls and guys are not balanced.
On a more personal note, I am also single. After the first event I held, I felt so sad. The event went well, but I ended up thinking: “I am out there helping people. God, what about me?”
But I’ve learnt that it’s about remembering my identity in God, and knowing that progress might not always look like the next big thing I pursue or achieve in life.
If we keep ourselves on track to not deviate from what God wants for us, I believe that is progress in a way as well, preparing ourselves for the day when God sends someone or reveals that He has other plans for us.
God also led me to get to know Grace. Before that, I was doing this alone. I was encouraged to see that she has the same heart for it, so we collaborated.
GRACE: This is the first time serving in a ministry where God is taking the lead for every step. I can’t say for sure what’s next.
I always find myself panicking and wondering if people would show up for my events. Yet when the date approaches, God just magically brings in people with registrations – even on the day itself!
God provided me with ministry partners who are very willing to work together or provide insights on how to improve the ministry.
God has a plan for me and will take care of whatever needs I have — even the need for a partner.
He also ministered to me as a single. I am navigating through my own season of singlehood.
As I hear my participants share their worries and concerns, I realise these are the very things I resonate with.
The more I struggle through this aspect of my life, the more I find assurance that God has a plan for me and will take care of whatever needs I have — even the need for a partner.
What do you hope to achieve through your ministry?
JEN: I hope that the platform will bring some hope to people. I hope it brings people together and helps them see that there are options.
There are good people out there. A lot of people could have been disappointed by past experiences or even dating apps. But there are still genuine God-loving people around.
GRACE: I hope to rally up kingdom workers to do more in supporting the singles. I also want to advocate godly dating.
People are often very paiseh to talk about the topic of dating, or to participate in such events.
Even for myself, I often worry when going to singles’ events. I feel that I am a boring person since I spend most of my weekends in church or serving God.
However, I recently read a book, and one line struck me: “Doing worldly things and chasing after worldly desires – isn’t THAT boring?”
So I began thinking about why I am so ashamed of serving God. Why am I scared that my love for God and serving Him would be a turn-off to the guy in front of me?
Through my ministry, I really hope to highlight that while the world may see Christians as “picky” or “choosy” when it comes to dating, we are called for a higher purpose.
We should not compromise. So this is really what I want to do, to create space for open conversations and to encourage Christian singles that it is okay to hold ourselves to these high standards in dating.
Do you have any message for the singles out there?
JEN: Don’t be afraid, and don’t feel that you are alone. Don’t lose hope, and give yourself opportunities by putting yourself out there.
Come with an open mind and see what God can do through that. Maybe you don’t gain a partner, but you could gain a friend.
The key thing is not to feel discouraged or hopeless.
… desire God as your first love and trust Him with your next!
GRACE: God loves you more than anyone can. You may feel that this journey of singleness is taking way too long – it is okay to tell that to God.
Take courage, be more intentional in your dating journey and find time to serve God. God honours those who honour Him.
I will just leave off with the motto of my ministry, which is to desire God as your first love and trust Him with your next!
Grace and Jen are organising a joint Valentine’s Day event for singles to mingle on February 18 (ladies full) so feel free to check that out. For even more events for Christian singles, check out this events page here.
Thir.st was not sponsored to produce this content.
- Have you ever attended a singles or mingling event? What was that like?
- What does waiting on God look like for you? Is that waiting passive or active in nature?
- What does “trust God and get going” look like for you?
- Take a moment to lift up your dating journey and worries to God – He is listening!
- Know someone who might enjoy mingling? Why not jio them and go together for the next one?