A recent survey of over 1,500 church leaders reveals a split in opinion on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in ministry. While most leaders have a general understanding of AI, many express ethical concerns and discomfort with fully embracing it in their churches.
- 63% of leaders say they are fairly to somewhat knowledgeable about AI, but only 9% consider themselves very knowledgeable.
- 62% say they rarely or never directly use AI in their ministry work.
- 54% are quite to extremely concerned about ethical issues with AI and the church.
- 43% are uncomfortable/anxious about using AI in their specific church.
- 41% think the Church should moderately leverage AI.
- 17% say the Church should resist/condemn AI use.
Concerns and Discomfort
A majority of church leaders express concern about the ethical implications of using AI in ministry. Some of the specific concerns they raise include:
- The potential for AI to be used to manipulate or exploit people.
- The possibility of AI becoming more intelligent than humans and posing a threat to humanity.
- The potential for AI to be used to create systems of surveillance and control.
- The impact of AI on jobs and the economy.
Many leaders also feel uncomfortable with the idea of using AI in their churches because they believe it could dehumanize ministry or replace the need for human interaction.
Opinions Split on AI’s Church Role
Despite the concerns and discomfort, there is also a significant number of church leaders who are open to using AI in ministry. They see AI as a tool that can be used to:
- Reach more people with the gospel.
- Enhance worship experiences.
- Provide better pastoral care and support.
- Automate administrative tasks.
- Free up human resources for other priorities.
Steve Lacy, Founder and CEO of StreamingChurch.tv has been developing tools for ministry since 2001 says this about AI “While we understand the concerns from leaders in ministry, we have seen the use of AI as a valuable tool in helping churches do ministry. One of the ministries we serve increased their online engagement by over 300% by implementing the AI Web Host on their streaming platform.”
Need for More Discussion
The survey results suggest that church leaders need more education, discussion, and reflection on AI’s implications for ministry. While opinions vary at this stage, increased understanding over time can lead to ethical integration where appropriate.
Denominations, networks, seminaries, and other institutions can play a role in guiding this conversation. They can provide resources and training to help church leaders learn more about AI and its potential uses in ministry. They can also help leaders to develop ethical guidelines for the use of AI.
The church has a unique opportunity to shape the future of AI. By carefully considering the ethical implications of AI and using it in a responsible way, the church can help to ensure that AI is used for good.
What are your thoughts? Reach out to us, since 2001 our seasoned ministry staff has worked exclusively with churches and ministries around the world. We have monthly webinars to equip you for ministry. Click here to learn more.
Content Source: churchtechtoday.com