In November of 2022, a tool called ChatGPT was launched for public use. It is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot capable of having a conversation, composing music, writing fairy tales, generating business ideas, and so much more.
Have you heard of it?
Following its popularity, many other AI tools started popping up, and the subject quickly became a focus throughout society and across industries.
As a church leader, you may find yourself wondering, Does AI have any place in the church? After all, we certainly wouldn’t recommend using AI to exegete Scripture or determine the message God has for your congregation. However, there are several ways that churches can utilize AI in their ministry in a way that carefully enhances and supports leaders.
Here at One Church Software, we’ve talked a lot over the years about the value of automation. By automating repeatable tasks in your ministry, you are able to spend more time on the aspects of your role as a church leader that matter most.
Well, the same principle can be true of AI tools. It’s not about how these tools can do your work for you as a pastor; however, it’s worth considering how the tools available to you can support you in remaining consistent, productive, and focused on the most important tasks. As you free up time that previously had to devote to smaller routine tasks, this is about giving you more time to connect with God, connect with His Word, and connect His people to the message of the Gospel.
So what are some principles for using AI effectively and ethically in the Church? Let’s dive in:
#1: Need Ideas or a List Made?
AI can often be great at making lists for you. This could be a list of social media post ideas for the month. This could also be something like a list of questions for small groups pulled from the transcript or outline of the latest sermon. While the generated response won’t be your final version, it can be a great place to simply get started.
In a tool like ChatGPT, an example prompt could look like:
- “I lead a church in [location]. Next month, we have two main events that we will be promoting. Those events are [event] and [event]. I would like to put together a plan to post on social media every weekday and to promote those events a couple times before they take place. Please put together an example social media plan and calendar with some ideas for the month.” (Again, this would simply give you a draft to help you get started!)
- “Below is the outline for the sermon I am giving on Sunday to my church. I need you to create 10 options for questions that a small group could discuss based on those notes.” (Take your pick and adjust as necessary!)
#2: Generally, Avoid Using AI-Generated Imagery
Particularly when it comes to AI-generated art, there are many in the art community who have spoken out negatively to AI systems for using existing art pieces to “train” the AI system without the permission of every respective artist. While there are arguments in both directions on this one, it’s wise to simply avoid it altogether for the time-being.
#3: AI is Great With First Drafts of Emails
Got an event coming up? Need to respond professionally to a general inquiry that came in through a contact form? If you give it the information it would need to formulate something accurate, AI tools are great at rough drafts of emails that you can then adjust.. From promotional emails to personal emails, this can be a great way to save time on the day-to-day of ministry.
An example prompt could look like: “On October 25, we have a worship night at First Example Church that will be focused on the idea of celebrating what God has done in our church this year. I need to write a friendly and inspiring email to announce the event to our congregation. I would also like to encourage them to invite their friends. I need you to give me a first draft of that email I could send.” (From there, adjust as necessary, but enjoy the time saved!)
#4: AI Can Pull Potential Sermon Clips for Social Media
Did you know that there are tools that will automatically pull clips from a longer video that are (potentially) compelling for use on social media? This makes sharing sermon clips fairly simple! A popular option is called Opus Clip, which automatically analyzes videos to identify the most compelling hooks and seamlessly arranges a longer video into cohesive short videos.
We know pastors and church leaders carry a heavy workload and are vital to the overall health of their church. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to effectively minister to the people of your church. That’s why we put such a heavy emphasis on having systems and software around you that frees up your time to focus on what is really important – caring for your members, empowering your volunteers, and serving your community.
AI is just one tool that can be used in an ethical way to help you create time for the most important aspects of your role in your ministry. We hope these ideas have inspired you to try some of them for yourself!
If you don’t have a church management system or are considering switching, you can try One Church Software FREE for 14 days to see all the ways it can help you care for your members, empower your volunteers, and serve your community.