Pastors Are Warning Others Not to Rely on Artificial Intelligence for Sermons

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With the fascination of the latest artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, many sectors are having to face its influence, which may or may not be inevitable. According to AP News, some pastors have experimented with AI in the development of sermons, but most agree that although it can produce an acceptable sermon, it fails to incorporate all that makes sermons purposeful and passionate. 

Hershael York, a pastor in Kentucky, explained that some pastors may rely on AI to write sermons, but he suggested that doing so would be doing a disservice to their congregations. A sermon produced by AI “lacks a soul,” said York, who further explained that preachers who love what they do and “love their people” should never use AI to write what should come from their hearts and minds. 


Joshua Franklin, a New York rabbi from the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, told his congregation that he was going to deliver a plagiarized sermon while discussing issues of “trust, vulnerability and forgiveness.” The sermon he chose to deliver was written by AI ChatGPT. While some of his congregants applauded, Franklin told them that it frightened him, noting that he did not see it coming that preachers and clergy would be replaced by AI, at least not so soon. 

Describing the difference between a sermon written by a person and one written by AI, Franklin echoed York’s concern that AI cannot deliver a meaningful message because without having “compassion and love,” AI is not able to unite people together to build community with one another. When that is lost, so too is the message that sermons are supposed to share. 


Rachael Keefe, pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, shared similar concerns when she tried AI in her congregation, adding that creating a community within the church is one of its most important functions. 

One member of the congregation, Douglas Federhart, called the AI sermons “generic and a little bit eerie.” 

Mike Glenn, senior pastor at Brentwood Baptist Church in Tennessee summed up the opposition to using AI the best when he said that AI will never “preach a decent sermon” because “the gospel is more than words. It’s the evidence of a changed life.”

Without having a beating heart that brings empathy and compassion to conversations, most preachers agree that AI could never replace their work because when people attend their place of worship they are seeking to make a connection with God and with each other, something AI will never be able to foster or support. 

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