Tuesday, November 10, 2009


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?

John Mark Ministries exists to support pastors, ex-pastors, church leaders and their spouses. As Director, I have the following ‘strings to my bow’:
Seminars for pastors and other professional people on a variety of topics;
counseling – pastors, spouses, others; professional reading; evangelism;
research: why have 10,000 Australian pastors left parish ministry? (This research is ready for someone else to continue if they want an easy Masters’ or PhD degree!)
* writing: books (see below) but mostly book reviews and articles for Christian leaders;
church audits; overseas conferences for pastors/leaders/ missionaries;
A friend emailed me:
‘My wife and I are trying to find someone to talk to about how we can get the most out of our marriage. Are you able to help us? If so, what are your rates?
See the articles on Retreats and Counseling in the Drop-down menu Ministry Information on the website’s frontpage.
Are you interested in inviting Rowland Croucher for a ministry-visit? Read on:
Dear ‘friend of John Mark’,
Thank you for inviting Rowland Croucher to participate in counseling/preaching/seminar leading.
John Mark Ministries is a Christian, non-profit organization. I get no salary, and after a few overheads are met, all donations go to various mission-projects.
Topics for seminars/preaching: Your Church Can Come Alive; Leadership; Poverty, Hunger and Justice Issues; Stress and Spirituality in Ministry; Time management for Church Leaders; Diagnosing the Health of Your Church; Megatrends in the Church Around the World; How to Survive as a Pastors’ Spouse; Why Clergy leave Parish Ministry, How to Pursue Excellence Without Cracking Up. See here for my seminal articles on these subjects.

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