Top 5 Ways Pastors Can Utilize AI
Top 5 Ways Pastors Can Utilize AI

Artificial intelligence is making waves in 2024. Love it or hate it, there’s no way to escape it. AI is infiltrating every area of life as people learn how to integrate it into various personal and professional activities.

What about AI in church, though? 

There are obvious issues with using artificial intelligence in certain circumstances. (You don’t want it writing your final sermon text or composing a statement of faith for your website, for instance.) But that doesn’t mean you need to blacklist it entirely. 

What’s the phrase again? Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water?

As with any modern technology, the key to proper AI usage in church is matching capabilities to needs. With that in mind, here are 5 ways pastors, in particular, can use AI as they go about their daily work.

1. Improving Sermon Ideation

To be painfully clear, AI should never write your sermons. Full stop. As The Gospel Coalition points out, leaving sermon writing to the machines isn’t a good idea, as it undermines the logic-defying point of a pastor-prepared sermon. AI shouldn’t replace pastors. But it can absolutely help them, including as a sermon ideation tool. 

If you need to preach on a certain subject, chat with AI about it. Ask for unique ideas and angles about something, and see what responses you get. These can be powerful brainstorming moments that spark further research and direction. Like Wikipedia, you don’t want to use AI as a final source. Instead, treat it as a signpost that leads you to deeper, better sermon points.

2. Enhancing Sermon Research

The best voice in favor of this concept is AI itself. Lifeway Research senior writer Aaron Earls asked ChatGPT for some of the ways pastors could utilize its skills in church. The program’s first suggestion focused on sermon preparation (see the previous point). The second emphasized Bible study and research. 

While you don’t want software regurgitating your theology based on online sources, you can absolutely use AI to streamline the research process. “By inputting a query or question,” ChatGPT explained, “pastors could receive a response from ChatGPT that provides relevant passages, commentary, and analysis to help deepen their understanding of the Bible.” AI is a superpowered way to find quotes, commentary, and other related items as you prep each sermon.

3. Streamlining Transcripts and Translations

AI can also have a powerful impact on how your congregation engages with your sermons. Live stream services have become an integral element of the post-pandemic church experience. Pew Research even reports that a quarter of U.S. adults watch religious services online on a regular basis. 

With so many people tuning in, it’s important to make your online pastoral content accessible to everyone. AI makes this easier through a myriad of transcript and translation software options. It has become easy and affordable to have artificial intelligence generate transcripts with near-human accuracy from sermon videos. It can also translate those transcripts into different languages, making it easier for people in various circumstances to access your church’s teaching on a regular basis.

4. Generating Sermon Art

There’s nothing like a good visual to bring a sermon to life and help it stick in your congregation’s memory. The problem in the past has been finding free or affordable images that you can repurpose into a sermon. Even once you found images that could work, you often had to add text or make editorial adjustments to prepare each batch of visual content.

AI is making that entire process easier — and more creative, too. Pastors can use tools like Midjourney to generate original and authentic imagery for their sermons. This is only going to get easier and more advanced with time, too. OpenAI’s Sora, for instance, has the potential to make gorgeous, one-of-a-kind sermon videos from simple text-to-video prompts.

5. Gaining a Personal Assistant

Pastors may lead teams and oversee staff, but often, church budgets don’t allow for a luxury as helpful as a personal assistant. AI is making it so the costs associated with individual professional support are irrelevant. Josh Burnett, CEO of, points out that you can (and likely already do, whether you know it or not) use AI in countless ways throughout your pastoral activities. 

From your GPS app to autocorrect on your phone, AI is constantly busy in the background. It is capable of taking on an ever-increasing amount of those small, mundane tasks, too. For instance, you can use it to generate content for church websites, social media accounts, and bulletins. You can also ask AI to generate ministry ideas (such as outreach concepts). It can even help with managing the bane of many a pastor’s existence — the endless composition of emails.

Using AI Responsibly From the Pulpit

AI isn’t evil. Nor is it angelic. It is a neutral technological concept that can both empower and inhibit pastoral activity.

Don’t shun AI. Instead, seek to understand its utility in a church setting. Use the tips above to get you started. 

If you’re ready to expand your church’s technological infrastructure beyond basic AI applications like these, reach out to our team at Ministry Solutions. Our experienced Christian leaders can help you navigate the potential and the pitfalls so that you can optimize tech as a practical element of pursuing your ministry’s God-given mission.



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