Guiding Light Mission

The information on this page was last updated 3/1/2024. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Guiding Light Recovery is an intensive, drug and alcohol recovery program designed to give men opportunity and structure to engage in change.

Guiding Light's Back-to-Work Program provides a short-term stay for homeless men who are employed or seeking full-time employment, allowing them to save money while they look for more permanent housing.

The Job Post - Provides job placement services for individuals who are temporarily unemployed or are seeking career advancement. These job placement services provide opportunities for individuals to re-engage in the community.

Iron House - This safe and secure living environment is located in a residential area outside the inner city allowing the men to live more independently as they transition back into the mainstream of society.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Guiding Light Mission
255 Division Ave S
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Phone: 616-451-0236

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 382638465

CEO/President: Brian Elve

Chairman: Andy Odenhal

Board size: 11

Founder: John Van de Water

Ruling year: 1986

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 2003


Our vision is to awaken the man with addictions to the possibility of becoming physically, emotionally, and spiritually transformed. Our goal for men is lifelong recovery and a new way of being in relationship with the world.

The staff here has a vested, personal interest to the work we do.

Did you know that over half of our dedicated employees are graduates of the Guiding Light addiction rehab and recovery program? To all of us, it is not just a day job. It is a calling and a commitment..

Mission statement

Guiding Light's mission is to walk alongside individuals as they engage in the hard work of transformation, embrace their God-given dignity, and pursue the potential of their lives.

Statement of faith

Donor confidence score

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Transparency grade


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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Rescue Missions/Homeless Shelters

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating497 of 111365 of 141
Fund acquisition rating902 of 1114126 of 141
Resource allocation rating432 of 111451 of 141
Asset utilization rating239 of 111330 of 141

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$761,877$214,012$176,755$327,683$439,772
Short-term investments$3,417,400$2,849,184$2,289,774$1,426,906$147,735
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$4,602,512$3,844,588$3,373,486$2,423,182$2,640,956
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$1,703,203$1,651,060$1,307,406$1,341,171$1,006,321
Other long-term assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term assets$1,703,203$1,651,060$1,307,406$1,341,171$1,006,321
Total assets$6,305,715$5,495,648$4,680,892$3,764,353$3,647,277
Payables and accrued expenses$107,364$63,457$71,075$110,274$277,787
Other current liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$107,364$63,457$71,075$110,274$277,787
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total liabilities$107,364$63,457$71,075$110,274$277,787
Net assets20222021202020192018
Without donor restrictions$6,149,505$5,399,845$4,348,641$3,647,194$3,325,710
With donor restrictions$48,846$32,346$261,176$6,885$43,780
Net assets$6,198,351$5,432,191$4,609,817$3,654,079$3,369,490
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$4,946,230$4,493,445$4,477,309$2,988,548$3,311,580
Program service revenue$3,121,364$1,497,378$1,226,989$3,387,199$2,849,741
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$0$9,800$39,293$19,708$3,990
Other revenue$173,658$133,565$136,442$128,309$87,566
Total other revenue$3,295,022$1,640,743$1,402,724$3,535,216$2,941,297
Total revenue$8,241,252$6,134,188$5,880,033$6,523,764$6,252,877
Program services$6,077,566$3,790,489$3,501,697$4,979,545$4,636,722
Management and general$149,852$246,027$257,130$285,126$264,219
Total expenses$7,447,641$5,351,133$4,949,220$6,253,117$5,753,822
Change in net assets20222021202020192018
Surplus (deficit)$793,611$783,055$930,813$270,647$499,055
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$793,611$783,055$930,813$270,647$499,055


Compensation data for this ministry has not been collected.

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 3/1/2024. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


Guiding Light was first established as West Fulton Mission in 1929 by a layman named John Van de Water. It began out of a need for meals for the unfortunate in the community. Shortly after moving to its new location, Guiding Light started what would become one of the most important components of its program. After receiving its certification from the state, Guiding Light began offering treatment for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. This would eventually develop into the S.T.A.R.T. program. The program has continued to evolve and is now the New Life in Christ program.

The VanderVeers served faithfully until 1966 when Andrew died suddenly while delivering an evening chapel service. The following years were difficult for the Mission. Cornelia passed away in 1968; and, after a brief stay, the new director resigned. The board began seriously considering closing Guiding Light. In 1968 Guiding Light officially closed.

Guiding Light remained closed for one year until Jacob Vredevoog, an assistant to the VanderVeers, reopened Guiding Light as an independent faith project. He did this with his own money and with the support of local donors. Vredevoog served until 1972 and passed away.

Guiding Light was then led and expanded by a number of directors, including Edward Oosterhouse, Herm Koning, Lucky Hobson, and Chico Daniels. Under their leadership, Guiding Light outgrew its original location and was moved to its current location at 255 Division Ave S.

Today, Guiding Light continues to fulfill the mission set forth by its founders. We continue to provide services to the homeless and suffering while sharing the love of Christ with those in need. As we move into the future, our mission remains to provide recovery and re-engagement for those living at society's margins.

Program accomplishments