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How Will Churches Use AI? Pastors Weigh In

Photo by Akira Hojo on Unsplash

How Will Churches Use AI? Pastors Weigh In

By Movieguide® Contributor

As AI becomes more integrated into everyday life, pastors are considering how they will use the emerging technology to assist their work in the future.

Barna’s recent study done in partnership with Gloo revealed pastors’ opinions towards AI. It found that a large majority believe that God can work through AI, though they differ on how this can be achieved. While the extent to which AI should be integrated was debated, the majority showed a willingness to use the technology to streamline administrative tasks.

Roughly nine in 10 (88%) of pastors want to utilize AI to assist in graphic design, while nearly 8 in 10 (78%) are comfortable using AI to “assist with marketing and marketing materials.” 58% agreed they would be comfortable implementing the technology to assist in communication.

Aside from mundane tasks, however, fewer pastors were confident in engaging the technology. Less than half (43%) would use the technology for sermon prep despite AI tools that compile multiple sources into succinct summaries. Even less (39%) would use AI to create study tools, while 12% would be willing to use the technology to assist in writing the sermons they preach.

Beyond their personal use, the study also revealed the pastors’ opinions on how AI will affect the lives of those in their congregation. 90% of pastors believe the technology will have some impact on their congregations, with more than half (56%) believing it will be negative overall. Only 5% of pastors were confident that AI’s impact on society would be a net positive.

The concern largely comes from a communication angle. 74% worry people will begin to develop emotional connections with AI chatbots, while 65% agree it will go further, developing into romantic ones.

Churchgoers are also wary of the tech. “When asked how to express their level of agreement with the statement, ‘AI is good for the Christian Church,’ just one in five U.S. Christians agree (6% strongly, 16% somewhat). Most Christians disagree (30% strongly, 21% somewhat), seeing AI and the Church at large as something that should not intersect,” Barna reported previously.

“We believe there is a moral imperative to responsibly use technology to advance human flourishing. AI is a powerful technology that should better support, not replace, relationships,” said Scott Beck, CEO and co-founder of Gloo.

As with most of the world, it seems that AI will become a useful tool within churches, at least administratively, but pastors still understand that their jobs rely on human connection, something the technology will not easily replace.

Movieguide® previously reported on the intersection of churches and technology:

While interest in using the metaverse for ministry was high during the pandemic, the belief that churches have a future in that space dropped significantly in 2023.

The 2024 State of Church Tech report found that, as of October 2023, only 5% of the 2,200 churches that purchased metaverse tech are actively pursuing ministry in the emerging space. Furthermore, the number of churches that plan to work within the metaverse in the next 12 months fell by 32% last year.

“While metaverse and VR technology have existed for years, Facebook’s rebrand to ‘Meta’ and their new metaverse were heavily promoted in late 2021 and continued to make headlines through 2022. Today, the publicity and general public’s enthusiasm for those phenomena has dropped off considerably,” the report said.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.