Guiding Light Mission

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 3/24/2022. To update the information in this column, please email:


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


Organization details

EIN: 382638465

CEO/President: Brian Elve

Chairman: John Harrington

Board size: 10

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


Helping men in Grand Rapids on the street get back to work and back to life. We restore self-worth, faith and the ability to contribute. Getting men off the street and on the payroll.

Christ-Centered - Guiding Light follows the teachings of Jesus Christ powered by the Spirit and supported in prayer.

Excellence- We courageously pursue excellence in our programs, leaders, and outcomes through learning, innovation, and personal and organizational collaboration.

Gratitude -We receive our blessings and challenges with the spirit and actions of gratitude to God and to others.

Integrity - we commit to high ethical and professional standards as good stewards of our entrusted time, talents, and treasures.

Justice - We uphold the human dignity of each person and further inclusiveness.

Mission statement

Through the guiding light of God's Spirit, Guiding Light partners with individuals to fulfill their God-given potential through rescue, recovery and re-engagement in the community.

Statement of faith

Donor confidence score

Show donor confidence score details

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Rescue Missions/Homeless Shelters

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating826 of 1022130 of 160
Fund acquisition rating958 of 1024156 of 160
Resource allocation rating863 of 1024136 of 160
Asset utilization rating270 of 102246 of 160

Financial ratios

Funding ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
Operating ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
Investing ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
Liquidity ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
Solvency ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses


Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$214,012$176,755$327,683$439,772$188,482
Short-term investments$2,849,184$2,289,774$1,426,906$147,735$141,443
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$3,844,588$3,373,486$2,423,182$2,640,956$1,974,638
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$1,651,060$1,307,406$1,341,171$1,006,321$1,051,549
Other long-term assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term assets$1,651,060$1,307,406$1,341,171$1,006,321$1,051,549
Total assets$5,495,648$4,680,892$3,764,353$3,647,277$3,026,187
Payables and accrued expenses$63,457$71,075$110,274$277,787$162,044
Other current liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$63,457$71,075$110,274$277,787$162,044
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$63,457$71,075$110,274$277,787$162,044
Net assets20212020201920182017
Without donor restrictions$5,399,845$4,348,641$3,647,194$3,325,710$2,708,756
With donor restrictions$32,346$261,176$6,885$43,780$155,387
Net assets$5,432,191$4,609,817$3,654,079$3,369,490$2,864,143
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$4,493,445$4,477,309$2,988,548$3,311,580$3,199,696
Program service revenue$1,497,378$1,226,989$3,387,199$2,849,741$1,396,805
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$9,800$39,293$19,708$3,990$48,183
Other revenue$133,565$136,442$128,309$87,566$84,304
Total other revenue$1,640,743$1,402,724$3,535,216$2,941,297$1,529,292
Total revenue$6,134,188$5,880,033$6,523,764$6,252,877$4,728,988
Program services$3,790,489$3,501,697$4,979,545$4,636,722$3,088,421
Management and general$246,027$257,130$285,126$264,219$320,632
Total expenses$5,351,133$4,949,220$6,253,117$5,753,822$4,393,454
Change in net assets20212020201920182017
Surplus (deficit)$783,055$930,813$270,647$499,055$335,534
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$783,055$930,813$270,647$499,055$335,534


Stuart P RayExecutive Director$99,500

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2021

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 3/24/2022. To update the information below, please email:


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