Sep 18, 2023 | The Rev. Kevin Rutledge

In today’s digitally driven world, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a powerful tool that can significantly impact your church’s communication and ministry efforts. As church leaders and pastors, you are uniquely positioned to explore the ethical use of AI, understanding its potential pitfalls and the transformative benefits it brings.

This article aims to delve into the ethical considerations surrounding AI, such as plagiarism and unchecked content generation, while also highlighting the positive ways AI can be harnessed to improve your church’s communication and ministry.

The Ethical Dilemma: Plagiarism and Unverified Content

  1. The Plagiarism Predicament: One of the foremost ethical concerns when using AI in your church communications is the risk of plagiarism. AI can inadvertently generate content that resembles existing materials when not adequately guided. To avoid plagiarism, it’s crucial to provide clear guidelines to AI systems, review the work created, and maintain ethical content creation standards.

  2. Content Accuracy and Authenticity: Another danger lies in relying solely on AI-generated content without reviewing it for factual accuracy. Inaccurate or misleading information can harm the credibility and trustworthiness of your church. Balancing AI’s efficiency with human oversight is essential to ensure the message aligns with your church’s values and beliefs.

Leveraging AI for Efficient Content Generation

  1. Creating Initial Drafts with AI: AI can be a valuable ally in generating initial drafts for various communications, such as newsletters or letters to congregational donors. By supplying the AI with the general topics and key points you want to include, you can quickly generate a rough draft, which can then be edited to resonate with your audience. This approach saves valuable time and ensures a structured starting point for your communication efforts.

  2. Pulpit AI for Sermon Enhancement: Pulpit AI offers a remarkable solution for enhancing your sermons and discipleship content. By uploading an audio file of your sermon, this service can automatically create a transcript, segment it into chapters, and generate keyword hashtags. Additionally, it provides reflection questions, a 5-day devotional reading plan, sample email messages to engage congregants, and highlights and quotes for social media use. This AI-powered service empowers pastors to efficiently craft engaging discipleship materials based on their sermons within hours of a worship service’s conclusion.

Embracing Christian Ethics in AI Integration

In the realm of AI, as in all aspects of your faith and ministry, it’s crucial to remember that your sense of Christian ethics guides you. While you must tread carefully and thoughtfully, you should not dismiss this technology outright. One of the first steps you can take is to engage with your church leadership or other pastors to create guidelines for the use of AI in ministry. Discuss what is acceptable and what is not, ensuring that your use of AI aligns with your church’s values and mission.

The ethical use of AI in your church ministry hinges on a delicate balance. The risks of plagiarism and unchecked content are real. But embracing AI as a tool for generating initial drafts and enhancing sermon content can yield significant benefits. By harnessing the power of AI responsibly, you can efficiently communicate your message, engage with your congregation, and strengthen your ministry, furthering your mission to serve and inspire your community while upholding Christian ethics.

Call to Action

Join the Conversation on AI-Powered Ministry! Are you curious about AI’s role in enhancing church communication and ministry? Dive into a five-session video series where we explore ethical AI use and practical content generation. Join our initial small group or stay updated on AI’s potential in ministry. Click here ( to participate and embark on this exciting journey together!

* The Rev. Kevin Rutledge is the pastor Berwyn United Methodist Church, Berwyn, Pa.

Also, listen to a recent conversation about AI in ministry on GNJ’s Uncovered Dish Christian Leadership Podcast. The topic is “ChatGPT & AI Part 1: An Ethical Framework for using Generative AI in Ministry.” Dr. Kate Ott, ethicist at Garrett Theological Seminary, explores the ethical implications of integrating AI tools like ChatGPT into ministry and nonprofit work. Watch and listen here.