I bet your initial answer is, “No” but with every new tool that comes along, be it physical books such as commentaries, Logos Bible Software or Googling what your looking for, the challenge is to pen a sermon worth sharing.
If you’re going to use AI to help you write your message, here are some tips to using it ethically
Be transparent about using AI
Hopefully, you already reference any material that is not yours in your messages already. Quotes, commentaries, stories etc. should be referenced when sharing a message, so why not Ai. I think it’s ok if you’re speaking a message on laziness to say, here’s a list GPTchat gave me of the top 10 reasons people are lazy.
Quoting Ai is not different than quoting a magazine, book or website; you are quoting a source.
Research questionable information
Ai is not perfect, yet, so you must be aware that certain kinds of information must be verified. I was talking with a fellow pastor and he shared that has asked Ai to give him the best quotes from a popular book. The Ai spit out a bunch of quotes but communicated that none of those quotes were from the book, they were made up.
I recently read Philip Yancey’s book Disappointment With God, so I asked Google Bard (AI) to give me the best 5 quotes from the book. It gave me five quotes and a reference to where one of the quotes were found but not the other four. The other four sounded like they may come from the book, but I would require myself to double check that information.
Besides, we all know the best quotes from any book we read are the ones we underline, highlight and put on social media.
Your congregation trusts you to be a source of truth, so verifying anything you quote from the internet should be a priority.
Be aware of the potential biases of Ai algorithms
Ai algorithms are trained on large datasets of data, and these datasets can reflect the biases of the people who created them. This means that Ai algorithms can sometimes generate results that are biased or discriminatory. Pastors should be aware of this potential and take steps to mitigate it (this is straight from Bard Ai)
If you are doing research on the best restaurants in your town, Ai may give you all the five star reviews but what if all those five start reviews were bots or were bought? The same is true if you’re looking for the same info on Yelp or Rotten Tomatoes, but a human eye could spot something that Ai cannot such as false comments or petty reviews. It would be better to share the best restaurants you’ve eaten at than the ones Ai recommends.
Before you jump into letting Ai writing your sermon, let me share what only you can do that Ai cannot.
It cannot study for you
If you’re like me, you take God’s word very seriously. In fact the Bible itself says to take it very seriously,
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Ai is a research tool not a “do it for me” tool. You still have to put the sweat equity in when it comes to reading commentaries and doing the appropriate amount of research outside of Ai.
It cannot pray over the message
Air has no vested interest in your message. Ai is not passionate about the lives you’ll be speaking to, but you are. Take time to pray over the information you receive and edit, edit, edit, edit until the message has God’s finger prints and you passion all over it.
Don’t allow technology to replace what only God can do in you and through you.
It cannot know the needs of your congregation
Ai is about information. God is about transformation. Your sermon preparation is a four way partnership between you, God’s word, the Holy Spirit and your congregation.
Like any other message you’ve prepared without Ai, my hope is you are thinking about the people who are going to hear this message and you’ve taken into account their needs as your prepare the message.
It cannot be personable
Once again, Ai can give you facts and some pretty good advice, but it cannot tell you the best restaurant it ate at lately. Take the information Ai gives you and personalize it by including your stories and your life experiences.
Ai is great as a gatherer of information but lousy at being a pastor.
Whether you’ve been preaching for 50 years or you’re new to preaching, I hope these tips will guide you in your sermon preparations but, please, do not allow Ai or any other tool or resource to become a crutch to hamper your own spiritual growth.
Read, study, pray, and let those be the foundation of your preaching, not the tools.
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