Once again, we are blessed to welcome a dynamo of a Christian woman—I grew tired reading about everything she has done! Whether you’re looking for inspiration, motivation, or just to be encouraged by discovering how a sister in Christ is serving her Lord with passion, please take a few minutes to meet Joké Solanke.
Hello Joké. Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?
My name is Ibijoke, but people call me Joke (Joo-kay). I am a Nigerian by birth, an American by naturalization, a Jew by covenant. I am an adventurous person with a belief that there is an answer to every question, solution to every problem, and hope for all situations. I am a mentor and coach, and I love pioneering new initiatives. In the workplace, I have been in management for about a decade and have also served in different leadership positions at local churches both in the United States and Nigeria.
What is your educational and spiritual background?
My educational background includes: two bachelor’s degrees (Mathematics and Nursing), a master’s degree in Nursing and a couple of certificate programs in Leadership. I am also a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with practice privileges in the State of Georgia. I have been in some sort of Spiritual leadership since my teenage years, having served as a zonal pastor during my undergraduate years at Ogun State University in Nigeria and then as a member of the Redeemed Christian Fellowship Executive in the capacity of the treasurer. My first experience of salvation happened in 1988 during my high school years through my Chemistry teacher—Mrs. Orowale. She took an interest in me and invited me to a Sunday evening Bible study group at her residence, and that was the beginning of my spiritual journey. My faith is anchored on the finished work of Christ on Calvary. I believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his second coming. I believe in the supernatural, and I have experienced the supernatural.
How did you get into ministry? How do you share your mission or vision?
I see ministry as an opportunity to serve your gifts or talents. Based on my perspective, I have been in ministry since my teenage years. My philosophy about ministry means that you do not have to be officially ordained before you can serve. You only need to discover your giftings and be willing to share with others. Specifically, I have been opportune to serve my gifts on the platform of teaching, administration, and intercession as a teenager. In the course of my journey, I was ordained as a Pastor and have served as a co-pastor for 15 years, led youth groups, women’s group, couple’s forums, Christian education, Intercessory groups and have always volunteered in any area of ministry with needs on a temporary basis. Although I don’t see myself as a choir or kid’s minister, I have served in those capacities to help lead and grow the departments until the church was able to get on board people with a specific calling in those areas. Recently, I founded Blossom Life Outreach with the purpose of helping people find the meaning in every challenging life situation and circumstance. In 2014, we launched out as Thy Kingdom Come (TKC) Outreach with a focus on women. Our experiences led us to the discovery of a universal need to help others navigate the maze of life, irrespective of age, gender, race, religious affiliations, or any other differentiating human-constructed standards.
What genre do you write and why are you drawn to it?
Writing was a discovery I made in an attempt to solve a work-related problem. I needed an authentic answer to the question of how to effectively manage the performance of other people despite all the numerous imperfections. I was struggling with building the type of team I envisioned. I did not see a prototype of the team I wanted around any of my mentors, so I decided to conduct research on the leadership style of Jesus. My findings were more than the issue of team building. I ended up with a 12-chapter book that has an answer to various leadership issues like vision, succession planning, mentoring, conflict management, information management, networking and much more. My writings are purpose driving, with a focus on either solving a problem or providing insights into life issues. My second book titled The Problem of Identity was written to help people struggling with identity see how they arrived at their current situation and the way out of identity crisis. My third book, which is scheduled to come out, was written at a time I was going through life changes that I did not anticipate. I used nature to provide the reassurance that no life situation is permanent. I also emphasized the consequences of indifference, if we are not intentional or prepared, we can become a victim of life’s seasonal changes and circumstances.
Do you think God has a purpose for your work, and if so, what?
I know that God has a purpose for my work, and as I said earlier, my purpose is to help people find meaning in life no matter how hopeless things may appear. We have recorded testimonials from people we have been able to impact, and this is a motivation to continue the assignment.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about yourself and/or your ministry since you decided to walk this path?
One of the lessons I have learned about myself is my uniqueness. I have discovered that God called me to carry out a specific assignment, and he has deposited within me all the necessary resources needed for me to get it done. I have discovered that I do not have any limitations besides the one in my mind based on my belief systems. This has really helped me to know how to remove some of the things that appear as limiting to my progress—to change any behavior, I have to change my belief system, and I have been able to accomplish this by looking at things from the perspectives of the Word of God. Another lesson I have learned is that I cannot do life alone. My gift is not meant for me, it is for other people, and I also need other people to serve their gifts for my survival. The survival of a mango tree hinges upon things in its environment, if the environment is right, the mango tree will be able to produce and serve its fruit. The same way, I am very particular about the environment I position myself because I can either be enriched or impoverished through my interactions with the environment, especially other humans.
Who/what are your biggest influences?
My biggest influence is Jesus Christ, and sincerely, my relationship with Him has helped me find meaning in my life even when things seem to be upside down. I have multiplied numbers of people who have been great influences in my life. One thing about everybody’s influence is the fact that they are transient in nature based on situations and needs. However, there are some that stand out over time, such as the late Dr. Myles Munroe; Pastor Obed; some biblical characters: Joseph, Esther, Deborah, Mary, Elizabeth, Abigail, Paul, Daniel, Jeremiah, Solomon, Job, Elijah, Elisha, The five daughters of Zelophehad; my kids; some of my siblings; my work team; and generally people I lead or I’m responsible for, to mention a few.
What are your goals when you write an article or book? How do you hope your readers will respond?
My goals when I write are to see people glean wisdom from my writings that can change their perspectives and help them implement necessary changes that can improve their lives.
Do you have another job or do you write full-time? Other hobbies or interests?
Writing is a passion that I developed along the line, and I’m still cultivating the art of writing. For the past decade, I have overseen two outpatient dialysis centers as the facility administrator for a Fortune 500 company. More recently, I became a board-certified family nurse practitioner. I am actively involved in coaching, mentoring, team building, professional development, and offering guidance to staff in those clinics. In the past, I have worked as a high school mathematics teacher and a bedside nurse in acute and chronic settings.
Some of my hobbies include hiking, which I do at least two to three times a week, sightseeing, listening to music, writing quotes, coaching, and reading. I also love to travel.
What do you find is the most difficult aspect of your ministry and how do you cope with it?
The most difficult aspect for me is keeping up with time. I believe there is a timing for everything, and opportunities can be missed if things are not done at the appropriate time. Learning to prioritize what is most important and making sure I don’t compromise the needful is a task especially when everything seems important.
Do you attend a church? Can you tell us about it?
I am a member of West Cobb Church in Powder Springs Georgia under the pastoral leadership of Pastor Stan and Terrisa Coleman. WCC is a family-friendly church with something for everyone. I love everything about this Church, and the most impressive for me is the ministry focus on the Youth and Children. There is a very intentional and dedicated effort in grooming the next generation for Christ. This is lacking in most Churches I have interacted with over the years. The community focus is also commendable. WCC has adopted neighboring schools and routinely sponsors and support some of the school events. I currently serve as a bible study group leader and at the Welcome Center to greet new members.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers or those wanting to develop a ministry?
My advice to aspiring writers or those wanting to develop a ministry is to first of all resolve the problem of identity and be on a quest to discover purpose. It is very important to address these core issues because there is a tendency to be confused when you step out before a clear understanding of who you are, what you can do, and the why behind what you are doing. A clear vision will save you from confusion; it will keep you grounded during opposition and trials and also help you keep your focus on your goal. Another important thing to consider when launching out is the fact that there will never be the right time for anything you want to do—you will have to make the time right.
Can you tell us about your future goals?
I am working on releasing my third book, Understanding the Seasons of Life, by spring 2019. I have four other books that I am currently working on: Depression, Purpose, Leadership, and Marriage. I will be hosting Blossom Life Conference 2019 in Atlanta from September 20 to 21 and continue the weekly life group with young adults age 18 and above.
How can our readers contact you?
Phone: (404) 618.6300
I hope you enjoyed meeting Joké as much as I did. Please leave her a message below or visit her directly on one of her social media/contact platforms.