A few weeks ago, we released a video where we explored what would happen if we let AI write a sermon in the style of Steven Furtick. The feedback was mostly positive, but we did get some pushback.
“Chapgpt is the holy spirit because it reflects on human subconscious creativity therefore it is the collective consciousness in action”
“In an era where ethics are lacking miserably among church leadership, do we have any doubt this is going to happen? Pastors get up on stage and preach entire messages by other pastors without ever given a stitch of credit, they’ll be using ChatGPT for sure. Ugh.”
“Loved the video! As someone who’s always struggled to stay awake during long sermons, I can’t wait until ChatGPT takes over preaching duties. Just kidding…kind of.”
“You know where AI comes from, right?”
So we wanted to take an episode to talk about it and offer 5 ways that we believe AI can make you a better preacher.
Table of contents
Use Case: You’re developing a sermon on the theme of ‘love.’ An AI tool could help by quickly identifying a collection of relevant Bible verses from across different books and testaments, allowing you to explore the theme of love from various perspectives in the scripture.
Caution: While AI’s efficiency in providing biblical references is impressive, it lacks the spiritual discernment required to select verses that are most suitable for your congregation’s specific context. Always prayerfully consider and review the AI-generated references, aligning them with the intended sermon message.
Use Case: Suppose you’re focusing on a particular biblical event for an upcoming sermon. AI can assist by offering historical context, aiding you in creating a sermon that is both biblically accurate and richly informative for your congregation.
Caution: AI draws historical context from available resources. It is crucial to verify these details using trusted theological sources and to discuss with fellow clergy or theologians, ensuring the accuracy of the historical information.
Use Case: When you’re addressing a complex biblical passage, AI can offer various interpretations drawn from different commentaries. This resource can ignite your own thought process and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the passage.
Caution: Remember that while AI can provide different interpretations, it lacks spiritual insight. It is always important to use your theological understanding, wisdom, and spiritual discernment as the primary guides when interpreting the scripture.
Use Case: AI can be a valuable resource for providing illustrative stories that align with your sermon theme. For instance, if your sermon is about ‘courage,’ the AI could suggest relevant parables, biblical narratives, or contemporary anecdotes reflecting courage.
Caution: It’s crucial to review the suggested stories with care. AI might not fully comprehend the moral intricacies of certain stories or their fit with your sermon theme. Also, always consider your congregation’s unique sensibilities and preferences when choosing to use AI-suggested stories.
Use Case: If your congregation is linguistically diverse, AI can assist by translating your prepared sermon into different languages, ensuring your message reaches everyone effectively.
Caution: While AI can handle translations, there may be subtleties, idioms, or cultural expressions that don’t translate perfectly. When possible, have a native or fluent speaker review the translations to ensure their accuracy and cultural sensitivity.
Final Thoughts on AI and Sermon Prep
AI presents an array of exciting possibilities for pastors in sermon preparation, from sourcing relevant biblical references to providing historical context and aiding in language translation. However, as we move towards incorporating these technological advancements into our spiritual practices, it’s important to remember that AI serves as a tool, not a replacement for our theological wisdom and spiritual discernment. It’s our responsibility as pastors to ensure we use AI mindfully and ethically, always putting the spiritual needs and well-being of our congregation first.
Remember, no AI can replicate the touch of the human heart, the compassion of understanding, or the power of prayer. As we embrace the future, let us do so with caution and care, ensuring our actions always glorify God and serve our community in the best possible way.