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The AI Revolution: Is your ministry ready?( Part 1)

by Church Times

Opening Thoughts:

“AI has leveled the playing field for churches, providing access to professional-quality visuals without the need for specialized design skills or expensive software.” – FaithGPT

“Artificial Intelligence is the future. And the future is here.” Dave Waters


The rapid rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is causing stirs in most industries, and the church is a concern. Change often sends a shiver down the spine in church circles! It’s an institution deeply rooted in tradition and community.

AI isn’t just a fleeting trend that will fade…It’s a powerful tool that’s reshaping how we approach everyday tasks, including those in ministry.

From enhancing communication to creating engaging content, and most admin task automation, AI is opening doors to possibilities that were once considered science fiction.

Before ChatGPT, AI has become an increasingly common part of life, influencing many industries, including education, healthcare, and communication.

Have you used Amazon, Gmail, GPS directions, Grammarly, Netflix, etc., you’ve been using A.I. for years!


As technology advances, the use of generative A.I. will only become increasingly widespread. The church will not be exempted from this move.

The question for church leaders:

  • Is not whether the church will embrace A.I.,


  • how the church will embrace A.I.



Artificial Intelligence refers to the simulation of human cognitive functions by machines. It includes a wide range of technologies that enable machines to perform tasks traditionally requiring human intelligence, such as: reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, and learning from experience.

AI refers to computer systems or machines that are capable of tasks that historically have required human intelligence. OR

Artificial intelligence is getting computers to do human tasks that require intelligence; sometimes it can actually succeed past the level of intelligence of humans.


  • Machine Learning:
    • Algorithms that can improve and learn from data without explicit programming.
    • Common methods include supervised, unsupervised, and reinforcement learning.
    • This enables pattern recognition in data for classification and prediction.
  • Computer Vision:
    • Enables machines to interpret and understand digital images and videos.
    • Applications include facial recognition, object detection, and self-driving vehicles.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP):
    • Facilitates machine-human communication through text or voice data.
    • Key tasks include language translation, speech recognition, and sentiment analysis.
  • Robotics:
    • Focuses on developing intelligent, autonomous machines that interact with the physical world.
    • Robots can perform manual tasks or engage socially with humans.


Today, several industries are being disrupted by AI. These include Manufacturing, Healthcare, Finance and Banking, Education, Retail, Transportation, Media & Entertainment, Public Services, and even HR with leaning and development etc.
However, this disruption goes beyond individual industries. AI is changing the nature of work itself, with some jobs being automated and new ones being created. Furthermore, it’s also influencing how businesses operate, from decision-making to customer service. Hence, for the church, it’s a matter of time!


Personalized online shopping: Recommendations for products you might like (Amazon homepage featuring recommendations section)

Smart home devices: Voice assistants that respond to your commands and control lighting or music. (Siri, Amazon Alexa, Netflix, YouTube, etc.)

Navigation apps: Traffic alerts and route optimization to get you to your destination faster. (Google Maps or Waze app with navigation displayed)

Apple Watch, Fitbit, and other wearables: Track number of calories burnt, Steps walked, and hours slept, and Bring the power of AI to our wrists!


AI is often associated with technological advancements in business and healthcare etc. AI has also started to make its mark in religious communities, offering new possibilities and opportunities for pastors to enhance their ministry.

So, in today’s rapidly evolving digital world, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into ministry practices has unveiled a myriad of benefits, empowering church leaders to navigate their roles with increased efficiency, effectiveness, and relevance. Let’s examine some advantages AI brings to the forefront of ministry:

  1. Streamlined Content Creation: AI serves as a potent writing accelerator, facilitating the creation of diverse content ranging from announcements and curricula to promotional materials and website content. While AI aids in generating initial drafts and providing alternative perspectives, church leaders must infuse their unique voices and insights into the final message, ensuring authenticity and quality remain uncompromised.
  2. Informed Decision-Making: Through AI-enabled tools, ministry staff can enhance their decision-making processes by crafting emotionally intelligent communications tailored for crucial interactions, meetings, or events. Leveraging AI for composing notes and approaches advances better-informed conversations, thereby augmenting leadership effectiveness.
  3. Customized Interactions: Integrating AI into databases enables personalized interactions with individuals and families, encouraging tailored pathways for discipleship and engagement. By moving away from a standardized approach, churches can cultivate deeper connections and cater to the specific needs of their diverse congregation members.
  4. Embracing Thought Leadership: Embracing AI signals the church’s commitment to relevance and innovation in the modern era. Leveraging AI tools thoughtfully can assist churches in positioning themselves as thought leaders, guiding their community in reflecting on contemporary challenges and opportunities within the context of faith.
  5. Unlocking Discipleship Potential: AI’s evolution presents a wealth of opportunities for enhancing discipleship and ministry outreach. From facilitating community connections to delivering personalized biblical resources, AI empowers churches to transcend traditional boundaries and engage with their congregation in innovative ways.
  6. Access to Abundant Resources: AI technology equips pastors with a vast reservoir of information and resources, enriching sermon preparation with comprehensive biblical insights and contextual understanding. Through leveraging AI-powered tools, pastors can craft well-informed and impactful messages that resonate deeply with their congregation.
  7. Time Efficiency and Workload Reduction: By automating research and preparatory tasks, AI enables pastors to optimize their time and alleviate the burdens associated with sermon preparation. This time-saving efficiency allows pastors to redirect their focus toward nurturing community connections, providing counseling, and engaging in outreach initiatives.
  8. Fresh Perspectives and Insights: AI’s analytical capabilities offer fresh perspectives and nuanced insights into biblical texts and themes, enriching sermon delivery with engaging narratives and thought-provoking interpretations. Pastors can invigorate their sermons with novel perspectives, captivating their congregation’s attention by harnessing AI’s analytical prowess.
  9. Expanded Outreach:

AI-driven translation tools and accessibility features enable pastors to extend the reach of their sermons to a broader audience. Whether through multilingual translations or accessible formats for individuals with disabilities, AI empowers pastors to disseminate their message inclusively, transcending geographical and physical barriers.


The integration of AI tools into ministry practices represents a pivotal paradigm shift, offering unprecedented opportunities for innovation, engagement, and impact.  Harnessing the power of AI enables churches to embark on a journey towards enhanced relevance, effectiveness, and connectivity in the digital age.


Here are some top findings from the survey:

  • 63% of leaders say they’re fairly somewhat knowledgeable about AI, but only 9% consider themselves very knowledgeable. 28% say they know little to nothing about AI.
  • 62% say they rarely or never directly use AI in their ministry work. 19% report occasional use, 19% weekly/daily use.
  • 7% believe the Church should condemn AI use.
  • 54% are quite to extremely concerned about ethical issues with AI and the church. 40% have slight to moderate concerns, 6% have no concerns.
  • 43% are uncomfortable/anxious about using AI in their specific church. 27% are positive/excited, 30% neutral.

Some Statistics and Facts!

Interesting outliers in the discussion of the church and AI according to Barna research group:

  • Over half of Gen Z Christians (57%) would like to hear from their pastor on using AI in personal communication.
  • Only 14 percent of pastors feel this topic is a very important one to be teaching on
  • 44 percent of Gen X Christians and 36 percent of Christian Boomers wanted to hear from their pastor on “using AI wisely.”



Pastors appear to be taking two approaches to A.I. use in ministry:

The Ostrich Group:

  • They fear and reject technology, seeing it as a threat.
  • They behave like an ostrich or simply avoid any use of AI or discussion of it.

The Embracer Group:

  • Are embracing it eagerly and experimenting with all A.I. can do
  • in the process, they’re figuring out the best applications for ministry work.

So, which is the better choice?

NOTE: History would tell us that ignoring technological revolutions probably isn’t the wisest choice and A.I. is no exception.  Leaders who ignore the future have a hard time doing ministry in the future.

Embracing AI fully without thinking through the theological, ethical, and existential questions A.I. poses difficulties. We advocate using AI carefully and thoughtfully rather than ignoring it

We should not do so recklessly. Church leaders must:

  • study and use A.I. carefully and prayerfully.
  • looking honestly and thoughtfully at its potential
  • being fully aware of its unintended (or intended) consequences.

The introduction of AI into the church comes with a profound responsibility. There is a pool of information AI taps into – a reservoir that spans all religions and beliefs. Hence, the fear that relying on AI might dilute the spiritual essence of messages is understandable, potentially curtailing the Holy Spirit’s guidance in crafting sermons that resonate deeply with congregations.

The fact is: AI as a tool can be wielded for both beneficial and detrimental purposes. The ethical use of AI in ministry isn’t about replacing spiritual guidance but augmenting it. AI can serve as a complement to the creative process, offering pastors a broad array of perspectives and ideas that they can prayerfully consider and refine in alignment with their faith and understanding.

Let me ask you this question dear church leaders: Are you using Google for research, engaging on social media, or even utilizing their smartphones? Yes/No? If your response is in the affirmative, then know that AI has been subtly woven into the fabric of our digital lives, thus enhancing user experience and efficiency.

The key lies in mindful and purposeful use, ensuring that AI serves the mission of the church. In embracing AI, we’re not sidelining the Holy Spirit, but inviting a tool that can help us sift through the vast expanse of information and ideas. Thus, enabling us to craft messages that are both relevant and deeply rooted in our faith.

Potential Concerns and Ethical Considerations

While the benefits of AI in the church are evident, it’s important to address potential concerns and ethical considerations.

  • Church leaders should be cautious about privacy and data security issues when implementing AI systems.
  • Extensive research should be done before implementing any AI systems into your church’s strategy.
  • Talking to an expert consultant may be a valuable investment.
  • Don’t compromise the following:
  • GPT must not replace the Holy Spirit: Permit the Spirit to breathe on what you generate based on needs.
  • Prioritize transparency: Be open about the use of AI tools with members, fostering trust.
  • Ensure personal connection: AI should augment human interaction, not substitute it.
  • Uphold privacy: Protect member data and use it responsibly in all AI processes.


AI could be used as an evangelistic tool to spread one’s faith to others. This is because with AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants, it is possible to create interactive experiences that can:

  • engage people in conversations about faith,
  • answer their questions, and
  • provide resources for learning and exploration.

So, AI has potential advantages as an evangelistic tool. Let’s see some potentials:

  • AI as an evangelistic tool can reach a wider audience than traditional forms of evangelism, such as in-person events or door-to-door visits.
  • Chatbots and virtual assistants can be available 24/7 and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
  • It is easier to connect with people who may not have had previous exposure to our faith.
  • Could be used to create personalized evangelistic experiences, tailoring the message and content to the individual needs and interests of each user.
  • Help make evangelism more relevant and engaging to people, increasing the chances of conversion.



Artificial intelligence (AI) presents a new frontier for churches seeking to enhance their ministries. However, the integration of AI is not without its considerations. I would like to explore here the historical context of churches adopting new technologies, demonstrating that such innovation has precedent.

The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century serves as a prime example. This technology, once revolutionary (though seemingly rudimentary by today’s standards), was rapidly embraced by the Church for the dissemination of religious materials. The printing press’s ability to produce content far faster than scribes allowed for the widespread distribution of the Church’s message, a feat previously unimaginable.

This historical example underscores a key takeaway: while adopting new technologies requires a measured approach, it’s crucial to remember that all technologies were once novel. Even the device you’re using to read this article represents a culmination of past technological advancements.

New technologies possess the potential to be powerful tools for churches, enabling them to share messages of hope and encouragement on a global scale. However, it’s vital to recognize technology for what it is – a tool. To ensure the primacy of the message, it’s most productive to view AI not as an end in itself, but rather as a means to an end – a way to fulfil the core mission of the Church.



Collaboration is Key: Involve a tech-savvy team member or trusted volunteer when exploring and implementing AI tools. They can provide valuable insights and ensure smooth integration with your church’s systems.

Focus on Outcomes: Avoid getting caught up in the coolness of the technology itself. Always have a clearly defined goal for how the AI tools will enhance your ministry and serve your congregation’s needs.

Accessibility and Training: Consider how AI will impact all of your members, regardless of age or tech-savvy. Provide user-friendly training to help everyone feel comfortable and included in the process.





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