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Leadership Coaching for the launch of a new volunteer program at a non-profit homeless rescue and recovery ministry


I was contacted by the CEO of a regional, faith-based, non-profit homeless rescue and recovery ministry who was faced with the dilemma of increasing number of clients, but lack of resources to provide the necessary services and support, which would have a greater chance of achieving the desired results for each unique care-receiver. He wanted to attract and utilize volunteers for this purpose, but recognized the need to be able to adequately prepare and qualify them for service to this unique population.


Ministry Leadership Team members and key volunteers selected by the CEO were coached and facilitated through the design and launch of a new volunteer program based on the concepts of relationship evangelism and lay Christian care-giving. Subsequently, the new Vice President of Ministry Programs received one-on-one leadership coaching to facilitate the development of mission and purpose, strategic objectives and tactical improvement plans for both the overnight shelter and the residential recovery operation.


The organization gained approval as a Stephen Ministry partner. A major donor to support the program and a volunteer Stephen Leader to lead the initial implementation were secured. Organizational staff were identified to lead the new volunteer program. This leadership team completed a Stephen Ministry Leader Training Conference and were certified as Stephen Leaders, which qualified them to train others as Stephen Ministers and establish and/or lead Stephen Ministry programs in partner organizations. Volunteers were recruited, trained and commissioned as Stephen Ministers (trained lay Christian care-givers). Stephen Ministry processes and procedures were put in place. The newly commissioned volunteer care-givers were matched with care-receivers, providing a new, robust support structure for men and women attempting to regain and rebuild their lives. To this day, the program continues to grow and evolve in response to the ever-changing challenges inherent in serving the chronically homeless and addicted community, and it serves as a model for utilization of volunteer caregivers in the homeless rescue and recovery environment.

Comments from leadership team members include:

“Rhonda has been instrumental in launching a new program for [our organization] and in that capacity has proven herself to be an excellent facilitator. This new aspect of our ministry entailed extensive research, developing a plan of action, conducting interviews and meetings, formulating procedures, establishing timetables, tracking the progress and development of this new program, and most important guiding current employees in its design and implementation. Rhonda maintained a high level of professionalism as she facilitated the entire process. She has guided our staff in a cohesive manner and brought forth a commitment to the program. Rhonda possesses the characteristics of a strong trainer and facilitator, as she is articulate and an effective communicator. Not only is she intelligent, honest, and personable, she is a motivator and is effective in dealing with numerous individuals of varying backgrounds. I strongly recommend Rhonda Jones as a coach, consultant, facilitator and trainer for your organization.” – Mary Beth Ramey, Director of Volunteers & Special Events

“Rhonda Jones [Sparks] is a facilitator who has proven results. Those results, however, are not through rigid and rote methods. Through an engaging process of “conversational discovery,” participants are encouraged and invited to explore the fullest dimensions of “problem-solving.” Any organization, whether non-profit or for-profit, that is looking to clarify their mission and objectives, or seeking solutions to a systemic problem, and/or desiring to build capacity, should look no further than Rhonda Jones [Sparks].” – Rev. Dr. Bruce Spangler, VP of Program Ministry

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