Is there a place for AI in the Church?

Yesterday I typed this on ChatGPT: ‘Please write me a 10-minute sermon on the Presence of God’.  I got a great response, absolutely mind blowing; a full sermon AI/ChatGPT-generated with relevant scripture references, application, and a closing prayer.

Seems like we are living in a new normal!

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer just a topic for science fiction and technologies. Seemingly overnight, it has become a significant part of our daily lives.

Writing this article I was tempted to ask AI to organize my thoughts so I don’t sound like a crack pot! But maybe next time.

Looking at the happening around us, AI is already impacting churches and ministries and will continue to do that.

Hundreds of people have already attended an AI-generated church service in Germany, involving virtual avatars delivering sermons written by ChatGPT.

Christians find themselves at a crossroads where they must grapple with the implications and potential benefits of this rapidly evolving technology.

Ignoring it isn’t going to be an option. As they say, “that train has already left the station.” So it’s more about learning how to leverage it correctly.

Now that some Pastors are already using it or attempting to have the artificial intelligence tool “ChatGPT” write their sermons, we ask; is it okay to have a computer write a sermon or a prayer? Should we use this new technology?

I think yes, with caution.

The platform can already be trained to write in your “voice” based on content you’ve already written. It can be useful for generating ideas, doing research, and creating documents, but for anything you want the Holy Spirit to inspire, probably not.

In my opinion, Pastors can use it as a research tool, while still retaining control over the critical elements of their message. That way, the value will go far beyond sermon support while ensuring that they (Pastors) are guarding the principles of doctrine and theology perspectives.

Thirdly, I don’t know if AI is ready to take on all the roles of a pastor, but what I do know is that things like sermons, and prayers, should be inspired and led by God through the person of the Holy Spirit, and certainly not AI. A sermon or prayer should come from the heart and the soul, and AI has neither, no matter how sophisticated it may become.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a phrase referring to a program or computer system that thinks, reasons, and learns in the same way as a human being.

So that I don’t come out as criticizing it, I do believe that we should definitely pay attention and stay informed because the Artificial Intelligence will increasingly take over our lives, in all its facets.

It is said; AI is going to be like electricity every person will use it.

When you ask Siri for directions, peruse Netflix’s recommendations, or get a fraud alert from your bank, these interactions are led by computer systems using large amounts of data to predict your needs. Evidence enough that AI technology already powers many of our interactions today.

I’d love to hear what you think. Should the Church take the lead in the use of AI technology? And how will it impact the way we engage today’s culture with the gospel?


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