Tuesday, November 10, 2009
25. JOHN MARK MINISTRIES
We began - about six church/denominational leaders - on April Fool's Day, 1991. We 'burnt our bridges behind us' - no money in the bank, no promise of financial support from anyone...All we had was my executive car (sounds grand, but it was the cheapest family car you could buy) and some books donated by World Vision; a vision for helping hurting pastors and ex-pastors and their spouses... And a lot of goodwill from a lot of people...
We have three full-time staff-members – Les Scarborough (N.S.W.), Tim Dyer (Tasmania), and myself, based in Melbourne. To summarize our philosophy/ theology: we are seeking to facilitate within ourselves, and with/for others, what Jesus called ‘the key of knowledge/understanding’ (Luke 11:52), which he taught was all about ‘justice and love’ (Luke 11:42). In other words, how do individuals and churches get to know and love God better, relate to one another in love and justice, and serve the world in terms of justice, compassion and preaching the Christian Good News (Matthew 23:23)?
I (Rowland) work from our home in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Most counseling happens while walking along the nearby Dandenong Creek walking trails. We added a 'Loft' - bedroom/study with en-suite - to our home in the late 1980s where people could stay for 'time-out' or for retreats. Here's something from an ex-nun:
'Some time ago I went to Victoria and spent a peaceful week, staying in "the loft" at the Crouchers' home. There I was able to enjoy a peaceful time communing with the Lord, while at the same time feeling part of the family, and included in the family celebration of Christmas. One of the delights was the opportunity to walk and enjoy a delightful nature walk close by. It was a very special time for me.'
That loft now has other uses, so in 2008-9 we built a larger, self-contained flat. It is available for most live-in retreat-clients.
What do we do?