In almost the past year, OpenAI has created buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) that is flooding the news and opinions everywhere, even more recently in the use of Churches.

I love AI and have been exploring the use of it ever since they launched it (and before then for other tools). That being said, I wouldn’t recommend it for Churches.

Yes, I know that’s counter-intuitive coming from a Marketing Agency. However, let me first explain:

I wouldn’t recommend it for Churches (when)…

That’s a better version of the statement.

Now, I don’t want you to stop following me all of a sudden just because I mention the possibility that AI can be useful for Churches. I saw an agency owner say that, once he mentioned AI in his newsletter, he started seeing a lot of unsubscribes.

Here are some reasons Churches should avoid AI:

  • When doing sermons: Yes, I do believe that AI can be used when sermon planning, but only to a small degree. It should not, however, be a way you create your entire manuscript. That’s the role of the Holy Spirit.
  • Spiritual applications: One major reason Churches fear AI (and rightly so) is that it will be likely used by the Antichrist. While I also believe that to be true, so will electricity, the Internet, and technology in general. That being said, I very much understand Churches wanting to avoid using it altogether. This is why I don’t really write about AI for Churches, in general.
  • One-on-one communication: I don’t think AI should be used to craft personal communication. Especially from scratch (e.g. craft me an email where I thank someone for attending our Church service last Sunday). You can, however, have it correct or improve on a thank you letter (especially a template). You also should avoid putting personal/private information in the chat box.

However, it is a very useful tool, especially for creating outlines, lists, ideas, titles, etc. It just shouldn’t replace any Spiritual practices or sermon writing in general. Some Pastors will disagree with me and say it should be used at all times. Some Pastors will disagree with me and say it should never be used.

I have used it quite often for articles, but I am going back to writing from scratch (even going away from using it to create outlines, sometimes). This is because, as I go away from using it, I see an increase in organic reach. While it’s true that social media and search engines (e.g. Google) are not always pushing AI material, it also can be because AI is a tool, not just something you input text, so there’s also a process for using AI to the best of its ability (and, yes, I’ve also been experimenting with many advanced AI prompt techniques).

I haven’t written on it until now (even though I’ve used it for years) because I know the backlash even mentioning it for Churches can bring. I understand both sides and am very cautious when I use it, as well. However, I know it is a tool, just like others, that Churches can use to get good results, if they use it wisely. Whether you use AI at all is up to you and God, and I don’t necessarily encourage Churches to use it a lot, but there are definite lines in the sand that I see about its use for Churches. I encourage you to pray and see if God leads you to use it, before you start using it for your Church, as it is challenging to break the use of once you get started.