In the midst of the Southern Baptist Convention’s sermon-stealing scandal perpetrated by the man in the highest office of the denomination, Ed Litton, it has become clear over the last several months that plagiarism is rampant in Evangelicalism.
At the core of the debate has been a sermon-writing group called Docent Research. Docent has been lauded by several prominent figures including Matt Chandler, JD Greear, Robert Morris, and Mark Driscoll, among many others. Docent, it seems, has been behind much of the push to embrace social justice in the Church–particularly with pastors like Greear and Chandler. Greear even admitted to using Docent to “make himself look good” every week while not having to spend much time prepping for his sermons.
But there is another group out there selling sermons and it’s also being widely used by pastors. This group, Ministry Pass, markets itself as “time-saving resources for busy pastors on a budget.” Yet, apparently, it does more than offer resources. In fact, according to an email received, they offer calendars, preaching plans, and…entire sermon series.
Each sermon, according to the the outfit’s website, comes with:
- Big Idea of Message: Preach with precision using our big idea or crafting your own. Whenever your congregation leaves, this will be the one thing they remember and apply.
- Sermon Illustrations: Get access to our fresh sermon illustrations library so you can illuminate the Gospel in a new light. Help your congregation comprehend and apply what you are preaching using illustrations.
- Talking Point Ideas: Get expanded talking point ideas so you can preach with absolute effectiveness. Make the sermon your own using your unique perspective or our talking point ideas, or both!
Mark Batterson, a well-known pastor who is heavily promoted by Evangelicals including Southern Baptists and is well-known for his “circle-maker” nonsense admits to using the service. But not only does he admit to using it, but he also praises the concept of sermon-stealing and plagiarism and encourages other pastors to do the same.
“I also believe that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Batterson said in a review of Ministry Pass. “You can’t come up with an original idea every single week.”
“Sometimes, it’s just good stewardship to beg, borrow and steal from someone else,” Batterson continued. “There’s some incredible ideas.”
“One of the things I appreciate is that Ministry Pass is really a clearinghouse where you can take an illustration or a graphic or an entire series, put your fingerprint on it, and leverage it in your church.” Watch the clip below: