Any good church leader knows that a strong message is vital to attracting and keeping a congregation engaged, and while coming up with an idea for a sermon is one thing, having the time to fully explore and develop a topic takes time that often pastors don't have.
That's why Glenn Lucke formed Docent Research Group, a non-profit that dedicated a team of seminary-trained researchers to provide weekly research briefs according to a pastor's specific instructions.
"We started doing sermon research for senior pastors and lead pastors, but we've evolved into doing research for executive pastors, young adult pastors, mission pastors, youth pastors and various leaders on the church staff."
The idea came to Lucke when he noticed a number of his pastor friends were pressed with too many responsibilities and just needed some help with their message preparation. He realized this was a problem churches all around the country were experiencing.
Docent researchers are comprised of a knowledgeable team of seminary-trained researchers, either having earned or currently earning MDivs or PhDs. They provide position papers on challenging topics that people are wrestling with in their area of ministry. This includes national topics like marriage, social science research and best practices research.
Docents don't replace a pastor's work, but help them extend their reach. The way it works, Lucke explains, is they interview pastors and put together a research brief based on their ideas and sermons.
"We don't write sermons. People think we do, but it's not the case. We are opposed to doing that," he says. "We think it is the pastor's jobs to shepherd his people and we delight in serving the pastor, coming along beside them. Their job is to do research and write a sermon, and some may take 15-20 hours a week doing that, and we help with the preparation and may contribute 5-7 hours. The pastor will always do more."
The company will also do customized curriculums, taking the time to dig into the scripture from the week before and helping a pastor to engage "the head, heart and hand" even further from what he preached the previous weekend.
Another function of Docent Research Group is helping pastors find stories, which Lucke calls being a "connective tissue."
"It could be finding really great stories, analogies, statistics and things like that," he says. "A lot of what we do is help them find current event stories, things from history and helping them think through anniversaries and making connections to things people are doing in their lives and how the scripture relates to what people are experiencing."
So, if you're a pastor looking for that little extra time to spend with your family and have more detailed information at your fingertips, Docent Research Group is right for you.
For more information, visit www.docentgroup.com.