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Docent Research Group

Docent Research Group exists to equip pastors and executive pastors of large churches with the tools and resources they need to minister in their unique contexts. By using a team of researchers with graduate-level degrees (or working on them) we provide clients with a wide variety of services. We do everything from demographic research to help plan for a new campus launch or church plant to sermon series preparation and planning. We help churches craft position papers to articulate beliefs, and we write custom curriculum for small groups, Bible studies, and Christian education programs. If you need it, we can do it!
What

Docent Research Group partners with pastors to provide research assistance to lighten their load and help them serve their churches more effectively. We do provide sermon research, leadership consultation, and custom curriculum.

How

We carefully pair graduate-level researchers with our clients based on theological compatibility, and we develop relationships with clients to get to know what resources would enrich their ministry.

Who

Docent’s work reaches over a million people every month who are blessed by pastors better equipped to do their work and backed up by excellent research. Docent brings the resources of the academy into the life of the church in simple, helpful ways.

Why

There isn’t enough time in the day for pastors to do all the things they need to do. The modern pastor is an administrator, organizer, and strategic planner, but many pastors weren't trained to do these things in seminary or didn't get into pastoral ministry for these reasons. We leverage our Researchers to maximize our client's time and help them focus on the things they are called to do.

What

What

Docent Research Group partners with pastors to provide research assistance to lighten their load and help them serve their churches more effectively. We do provide sermon research, leadership consultation, and custom curriculum.

How

How

We carefully pair graduate-level researchers with our clients based on theological compatibility, and we develop relationships with clients to get to know what resources would enrich their ministry.

Who

Who

Docent’s work reaches over a million people every month who are blessed by pastors better equipped to do their work and backed up by excellent research. Docent brings the resources of the academy into the life of the church in simple, helpful ways.

Why

Why

There isn’t enough time in the day for pastors to do all the things they need to do. The modern pastor is an administrator, organizer, and strategic planner, but many pastors weren't trained to do these things in seminary or didn't get into pastoral ministry for these reasons. We leverage our Researchers to maximize our client's time and help them focus on the things they are called to do.

Team

Glenn Lucke Founder and President
Glenn Lucke Founder and President
I started Docent to provide pastors with excellent customized research. I saw a number of my pastor friends pressed under the weight of multiple responsibilities and they simply needed assistance with their message preparation.

Beyond my own circle of friends, I read and heard stories of pastors across the country wrestling with similar expectations. In a couple of stories, I read about the pastors who had worn themselves out trying to produce compelling content for their messages each week. Still others had severe marriage woes, another had a breakdown. And then news reports several years apart detailed two pastors who had been removed from their jobs for plagiarizing the sermons of a prominent preacher.

What I saw in my pastor friends’ lives and in these stories was enormous pressure to produce excellent content that would connect with the lost and nourish the found…every week. Pastors didn’t seem to have enough time in the week to execute this high-wire act, attend to their other responsibilities, and still place the Lord and family first in their priorities.

My story intersected this widespread need…perfectly. Though reared in a mainline Protestant family and church in Houston, I showed up at Dartmouth a hostile skeptic of Christianity. I came to faith at the end of my freshman year, but the years of nominal belief and hostile skepticism to biblical Christianity gave me an eye and an ear for how non-Christians think and feel about the Christian faith.

Upon graduation I worked in campus ministry at Harvard for three years. Then I came home to Houston to work at Second Baptist, which prepared me for the unique experiences of serving large church pastors.

Realizing the need for theological education, I went to RTS-Orlando for an MDiv, and then I finished a PhD in sociology at UVa, focusing on religion and culture. I co-authored Common Grounds: Conversations About Things That Matter Most to model conversations between Christ-followers and non-believers. Through Docent I am able to bring the fruits of years of rigorous theological and cultural studies training to bear on the research needs of pastors.

Sometimes people ask me, “Why do you do this?” My answer: It’s the phone calls and emails, some of them emotional, from pastors thanking me for what their dedicated Docent team has enabled them to do.

And what is that? Pastors tell me that Docent helps them keep their sanity, have more time with their families, have better resources and information at their fingertips, and have an ally who creatively and diligently works alongside them.

James Gordon Personnel Director | Project Manager
James Gordon Personnel Director | Project Manager
James Gordon is the Personnel Director and Project Manager for Docent Research Group. He completed his Ph.D at Wheaton College and did an MA at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of The Holy One in Our Midst: An Essay on the Flesh of Christ (Fortress, 2016). James lives in Wheaton, IL with his wife and twin sons and attends All Souls Anglican Church.

Joy Harris Operations Administrator
Joy Harris Operations Administrator
Joy Harris is the Operations Administrator for Docent Research Group. She holds a B.S in English Education from Bowling Green State University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She lives in Silver Spring, MD with her husband, who serves as a pastor at The Well Community Church.

Brad Vermurlen Director of Social Research
Brad Vermurlen Director of Social Research
Brad Vermurlen is the Director of Social Research for Docent Research Group. He earned degrees in sociology at University of Michigan (B.A.) and University of Notre Dame (M.A., Ph.D.). At Notre Dame, he worked in the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and completed a dissertation on the New Calvinist movement. His research has been published in the American Journal of Cultural Sociology. He lives with his wife near Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Amber Bowen Director of Curriculum
Amber Bowen Director of Curriculum
Amber Bowen is the Director of Curriculum for Docent Research group. She has a B.A. in Biblical Studies and History of Ideas from The College at Southeastern, an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Craig Bartholomew through the University of Aberdeen. She is writing a dissertation on Søren Kierkegaard’s notion of the self and how it can be resourced for the theology of sanctification and spiritual formation. She is a native of Raleigh, NC but is currently researching from the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.