Your AI Primer: Everything Church Leaders Need to Know about Artificial Intelligence


In a time where the tools of artificial intelligence (AI) from big tech corporations like OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, and Adobe have become commonplace, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in history. For the faith community worldwide, this moment is not just an opportunity but a call to action—a chance not only to join the conversation about AI but to help drive the conversation around its moral and ethical uses. As we stand at these crossroads, it's essential to recognize that AI's impact stretches across all sectors, including our spiritual lives. The question is not if we will engage with AI, but how we will do so in a way that enhances, never replaces, relationship with God and with others?

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI), a term coined in the 1950s, refers to machines programmed to imitate human intelligence—learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. Most AI explorers believe there are three key eras of AI for us to consider as possible or likely. Narrow, General, and Super AI. Let’s talk about each. 

Narrow AI

Currently, we live in the era of "narrow AI", where machines excel in specific tasks they are programmed to do, lacking consciousness or general intelligence. From Siri and Alexa managing our schedules to algorithms suggesting what we watch next, narrow AI is already woven into the fabric of our daily lives. As we navigate this landscape, it's crucial to understand that while AI has immense potential, it operates within the confines that its creators define for it.

General AI

In the next era of AI, it is believed that machines will have the ability to be self aware of and complete any tasks related to the original request or order of the human. In simpler terms, AI will begin to complete tasks that, while they may be relative, were not originally asked to complete. This era of artificial general intelligence, or AGI as it is often referred to, poses both incredible opportunity and severe consequences. In this era, for instance, we would be likely to see robots who are generally asked to maintain the cleanliness of a home and are able to do the dishes, clean the floors, and dust the blinds without being told to do each task independently. While it is very heavily debated on whether AGI is ever possible to achieve or likely to happen in any of our lifetimes, it is important to know that there are major corporations actively working to achieve this era including OpenAI who’s mission is to create artificial general intelligence.

Super AI

If you’ve been reading this article wondering when we would talk about Skynet and iRobot, this is it. Artificial super intelligence is the era in which machines have become exponentially more knowledgeable and powerful than humans. 

You might be asking why we would want anything to do with a technology that has such drastic potential for humanity. Why is it important for us in the Faith community to know and understand so much about AI? Is this just another technology advancement such as the invention of the internet that I should be aware of or is it more? As shown through the explanation of these eras of AI, each of our lives and the lives of those we are called to love and serve has the potential to be significantly impacted by the emergence of AI. The positive and negative potentials for AI are so severe that we should take it seriously and have the conversations now about how and what it means to our ministries. In many ways, AI is unlike any other technological advancement we have seen. Questions like “where does intelligence come from” and “what is the ultimate source of truth” have never been more debated than they are now.

As leaders in the Faith community, it's our responsibility to ensure that we rise to the occasion and serve well to help answer those questions.

What about LLMs?

You may have heard the term "LLM" related to AI and wonder what it is. Large Language Models (LLMs) like OpenAI's GPT-4 are a branch of AI that use machine learning techniques to generate human-like text. They are trained on vast amounts of data and can generate coherent and contextually relevant sentences by predicting the probability of a word given the previous words used in the text. They can be used in various applications such as drafting emails, writing articles, creating written content, assisting in customer service, and more. LLMs represent one of the most sophisticated and practical applications of AI technology today.

Understanding that AI is trained on data sets, and understanding the inherent implications of those data sets are important to keep in mind when determining where and to what extent you use AI in ministry.

A Moral Imperative

At Gloo, we believe that it's a moral imperative to use technology, even ones like AI, for good—and particularly to enable human flourishing. We know that God is not surprised by AI and we recognize the transformative potential of AI to help people grow closer to one another, and to God. It's important to be equally mindful of the challenges it poses and ministry leaders will need to thoughtfully explore the ethical and moral applications that help them further the Gospel. This is at the heart of our AI & the Church Initiative, aimed at serving the faith ecosystem to responsibly engage the conversation around AI.  It includes multiple components such as collaborative funding, events, resource hubs, content, and participation in a cross-industry working group for the responsible use of AI in ministry.

As we consider AI within the Church, we will need to lean into critical topics like ethical considerations like data privacy, algorithmic bias, and the need for transparency and accountability. Faith leaders are called to navigate these challenges not with fear, but with wisdom and a commitment to Christian values. By fostering an environment of ethical AI use, we can ensure that these powerful tools serve our mission without compromising the integrity or privacy of the communities we're called to serve. 

Getting Started with AI in Ministry

For faith leaders curious about integrating AI into their ministry, the journey begins with education, reflection, and practical application. Hopefully, this article helps with the education part, but your education shouldn’t stop here. To continue exploring more educational resources around AI & the Church, we’ve put together the  AI & the Church Hub inside of Gloo completely free and built to help ministries like yours with videos, articles, and tools from trusted leaders across the faith ecosystem. 

As you level up in your education and understanding around AI, its also important to reflect and pray on where you personally stand as it relates to AI, how it could impact you and those nearest to you , and its potential impact on your ministry. To help you navigate these reflections, we’ve created the AI Personality Quiz for ministry leaders which will help you identify your personal disposition to using AI in your ministry. Our quiz categorizes church leaders into one of four AI Leadership quadrants. Anyone on your team can take the quiz to discover their unique point of view and have clarifying conversations in your ministry.

Once you’ve set a base level of education and reflection, you’ll be ready to try some practical applications of AI. Using AI doesn’t only mean using popular generative tools like ChatGPT or image creation tools like MidJourney. You will quickly realize that whether its smartphone features like Siri, home assistants like Alexa, or word processing tools like Grammarly, AI has found its way into your life in many ways that don’t always feel like AI. Every week new and practical applications of AI in ministry are being discovered, some using AI tools built for general use and even some tools built specifically for ministry. Here are some areas of practical application to explore:

  • Analyzing Data and Content: Many of the popular AI tools are able to analyze whole spreadsheets of data, scan websites and even PDF documents. This quick ingestion of data then makes it possible for you to ask any question about that data or have a conversation with AI to help you make decisions and take next steps. Important - one guiding principle we recommend is to remove any sensitive or personal data prior to sending it to any AI tool.
  • Expanding Sermon Content: There is a clear difference between using AI to write sermons and using AI to expand your sermons to reach more people. One of our favorite AI tools built just for ministries is Church.Tech which allows pastors to upload sermon videos and instantly create more content like discussion guides, small group questions, and social media clips.
  • Generating Graphics & Video: The growing quality of AI’s ability to generate graphics and video is a great way for ministries to save time while improving overall quality standards.

For more tools to try yourself, refer to our AI Resource Wheel.


The integration of AI into our ministries is not just about adopting new tools but aligning them with our mission to serve God and our communities more deeply. Whether you are just beginning or continuing your journey around AI in your life and ministry, consider this question: “How might God be glorified through the use of this technology?”

For additional resources like AI Discussion Guides, AI Privacy Policy Templates, and tools like the ones mentioned in this article, refer to our Next Steps page.