WATCH: Texas Church Used AI Chatbot To Create Sunday Service, Write Sermon
By Bill Galluccio
September 21, 2023
A Methodist church in Texas decided to use ChatGPT to create its Sunday worship service. Pastor Jay Cooper of Violet Crown City Church told MySanAntonio.com that his church has many software developers, and he has been talking to them about the use of artificial intelligence and chatbots.
While many people have voiced concerns about using AI technology, Cooper believes it can be a helpful tool.
"I think there could actually be some real potential with churches utilizing AI, to an extent," he told the news outlet. "I'm wondering if AI can be used as a tool, perhaps even a sacred tool, for the sake of the betterment and greater good for all."
For Sunday's (September 17) service, Cooper fed a prompt into ChatGPT asking it to create a Sunday worship service and listed specific things it had to include, such as four familiar hymns, a sermon, and an original song to reflect the message of the sermon.
The first response from ChatGPT wasn't the best, Cooper said. He noted that while the prayers were relevant, the overall worship service was very basic.
"It just doesn't feel authentic," he said. "They don't have a lot of soul to them."
"ChatGPT kicked out about a 15-minute service, like a shotgun sermon, an outline," Cooper explained to his congregants. "It's very clear that a human element is still needed. I had to fill out the service with additional prompts and add a couple prompts to the sermon to kind of beef it up."
Overall, the worship service went off without a hitch. One of the worshippers, Ernest Chambers, told KXAN that the service was fine, but it lacked one important thing: feelings.
"I'm not sure that AI can actually express the emotions of love and kindness and empathy," Chambers said. "I think that we must practice love and express that. Not only feel it, but we must express it."
Cooper said that using AI to create a worship service was a one-time experiment, and he doesn't plan to do it again.