Victorian Renewal Retreats

Interdenominational Renewal Retreat Groups

A current pdf brochure for Victorian Renewal Retreats

Renewal retreats operate separately for men in pastoral ministry, women in pastoral ministry and pastors wives.

About Renewal Retreat Groups

  • Each group consists of 8-10 members, who commit to meeting together for a 4-day retreat each year for 3 years, as well as catch up days during each year. Men & women meet in separate groups

  • After the 3 years the group separates into two core groups who invite others to join them for a further 3 year cycle. Some of these groups are now in their fifth or sixth cycle.

  • Over 1000 are presently in Retreat Groups across denominations and throughout Australia

  • What do Retreat Groups do?

    • Retreat Groups foster personal renewal and mutual support for people in Christian ministry

    • The groups work within an environment of absolute confidentiality enabling those present to share their individual journeys of faith encompassing the joys, the sorrows, the struggles, lessons learnt and triumphs.

    • Times are set aside for God to touch each person through His Word, His Understanding, His Love and His Healing.

    • Time is also set aside for fellowship and encouragement of each other.

    • Workshops on personal and ministry issues are incorporated as desired.

    Why are they important?

    • Many people leave ministry. There are 13,000 ex-pastors (and spouses) in Australia – almost as many as there are in ministry at present! Who ministers to the minister (and family)?

    ‘The amount of stress in the community at large is intense for many reasons. The pace of life and the pressure that arises from widespread questioning of traditional family institutions add to those upon a clergy family. Ministers and Pastors of Churches feel the stress of a questioning public and an articulate and demanding church membership. That pressure extends to spouse and family. Some need to leave. Those in leadership positions recognise the urgent need to offer support and pastoral encouragement to active clergy as well as those who decide to pursue another vocation. I warmly recommend John Mark Ministries’
    The Most Revd. R.H. Goodhew, Anglican Archbishop (retired)

    ‘No more can women in ministry say, ‘There’s no one there for us. John Mark Ministries provide researched, empathetic help – in equipping, self-care strategies, and in crisis support and counselling’.
    Lyn Cramb, involved in care and equipping of women in ministry, Queensland Baptist Churches.

    The Founder: Les Scarborough
    Les Scarborough is married to Lynette, and they live in Glenbrook, NSW. They have two adult children.
    Les has been a Pastor for 30 years, 18 of which were as a senior pastor of a church in the Western suburbs of Sydney.
    He has developed strategies for pastor’s renewal retreats over 25 years and facilitated more than 150 four-day retreats for men in pastoral ministry. More recently, with his wife, Lynette, he has developed renewal retreats for women in ministry. The strategy also includes ongoing yearly training for retreat facilitators.
    His chief focus is now on training the trainers and mentoring leaders.
    The ministry is now led and administered in Victoria by an oversight group consisting of experienced ministers from around Melbourne and country areas.

    John Mark Ministries is committed to the renewal of churches and to the encouragement of ministers.

    Quotes from participants:



    The thing I found most helpful was to realise that I wasn’t the only one experiencing stress and difficulties in the parish and that. I was normal! That reassurance enabled me to continue on and deal with the problems and stresses as they continued to present themselves.

    A life-changing experience, one of the most positive and significant events in my time of ministry.

    Renewal Retreats are the biggest reason I am not an ex-pastor.

    It’s an incredible experience to feel free to share in a safe, loving environment with other women in ministry’.

    I have been blessed by God by participating in Renewal Retreats. They have been challenging at times, but always concerned for my well-being and blessing before the Lord.

    Renewal Retreats have given me the fellowship, love and support that all people in full-time Christian ministry need.

    The contact person for waiting lists is Diana Dow, email address:

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