Leading a church is a tough job. A pastor’s role spans from spiritual director, politician, friend and counselor to chief fundraiser, CEO, visionary, and inspirational speaker. Pastors are called to usher the church into the future, while changing as little as possible about what people love about the church along the way. Bottom line: it’s a hard job with important decisions to make. 

So when something new like artificial intelligence comes along, how can you, as a church staff member, talk with your lead pastor about it? Here are nine tips to chat about AI with your church’s senior pastor.

1. Try it yourself

One of the best ways to help your lead pastor use AI is by using it yourself. Start incorporating AI into your weekly workflows. As you discover how AI can save you time and help you do more, you’ll soon be an advocate for this developing technology.

Check out new AI platforms like Fathom for Zoom recording or Typeset for document creation, so you can envision the positive uses of this new technology. The better you understand how helpful AI is in your daily life, the easier it will be for you to share it. 

A ministry leader learning more about Ai themselves

2. Learn about AI 

Take some time to learn about this advanced new technology. For example, you’ll want to learn what AI is—and what it isn’t. We often get questions in our Facebook group or in one of our AI cohorts for a platform that will do a certain type of task. For example, a person may ask for an AI tool that can help you create different kinds of documents with different backgrounds. A platform like Canva can currently help with those tasks without AI (though Canva is growing in its use of AI). 

On the other hand, there are new, advanced AI apps being built every day that can do amazing things. And to be honest, if there isn’t an app that can accomplish whatever task you’re dreaming up now, it’ll probably exist in the next six months. The more you learn about ways to incorporate AI in your everyday life, the easier it will be for you to share its benefits with others.      

3. Lead by example 

In my personal life, I’ve leaned into AI to help answer questions, create recipes, accomplish tasks, and share fun. My friends and family have become increasingly aware of AI’s potential from being around me. Recently, I’ve downloaded ChatGPT’s mobile app. Using this app, I can chat with the AI out loud. My friends and family often hear the AI’s amazing and helpful responses. I’m always quick to point out when a question we ask Alexa would be better answered by ChatGPT. 

A church team setting the example through knowledgeable use of AI

As people in your work see all the unique and beneficial ways you’re using AI, they’ll begin to ask what platform or features you’re using. Leading by example is a great way to help your lead pastor see how AI could benefit the church. 

4. Make small AI suggestions

When a question pops up in a meeting that AI could answer, use it. Take small opportunities to show others the power of AI in church ministry. It’s a great way to demonstrate how AI isn’t a vague enemy of faith but a friendly tool pastors can use to propel the church forward into the future.  

You could even offer to model an AI platform for your lead pastor to show them the results. They’ll probably be blown away by how helpful AI could be for their weekly church tasks. 

5. Develop an AI policy

Establishing an AI policy is a new and developing topic for churches. Religious organizations, schools, and even government groups are currently working on developing policies and parameters for the use of AI. Creating an AI policy can help free church staff to use AI more widely and openly. 

Setting up a church AI policy

I feel bad when I see a pastor who is almost apologetic when it comes to their use of AI, as if they didn’t do the work themselves or took the easy way out. Imagine if a person apologized every time they used a calculator or Google maps! Instead, everyone knows the use of these tools is preferable to the human alternative. I’d much rather have a friend share the Google map directions to get somewhere instead of their personal, handwritten directions on a physical map.  

6. Explain how AI is the future

Sometimes church leaders hold a “wait and see” approach to new technology. They want to make sure the new technology is widely accepted, safe, and not perceived as a tool of the devil. Here’s the truth: AI isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s currently being built into every platform on the planet. Therefore, leaning into the use of AI isn’t an option. Instead, those who hold off will quickly fall behind everyone willing to learn this world-changing technology. 

7. Suggest AI tools to church staff

In your staff meetings, suggest the use of AI tools to solve common problems. For example, a platform like SermonShots can shave hours off your creative team’s work week. SermonSpark can amplify your lead pastor’s time spent on sermon prep each week. New tools are created all the time. When you need to save time or money, look to AI to help address your challenges. 

8. Be prepared to advocate for AI tools  

Learning new tools may take time. Be patient as church leaders slowly get on board with this fast-moving technology. Some pastors may not get on board at first, and that’s ok. Instead of challenging their view of AI, consistently show them the amazing results AI can contribute to church ministry. Eventually, they’ll come to see and love the beneficial ways AI can help the church serve and care for your community. 

Ministry leaders consulting with AI for Churches

9. Get an AI consultation 

If you’re concerned about being the voice of this new technology, then bring in an expert. AI consultations are relatively inexpensive and they can give your entire staff great ideas for utilizing AI within your church. It’s a super easy way to get the AI ball rolling—and fast.  

Becoming an AI Church Advocate

As you learn more about and use AI within the church context, you’ll find people around you changing their tune on AI. Everyone’s looking for ways to do more in less time. If AI is a potential answer, then most people would be happy to give an AI platform a try. 

Some of the most important things you can do are continue learning about AI and finding ways to use it in your own ministry. As you do this, watch as the people around you begin to ask what platforms you’re using and ask for help finding an AI platform to help with their weekly tasks. 

Be patient with those who are slow to use AI or are distrustful of this new technology. To be honest, we’re all learning together. In some ways, we’re still in the wild, wild west of AI as the government is trying to catch up and establish ethical guidelines and laws regarding the use of AI. However, almost any task church staff may need to accomplish can be reasonably and ethically aided by artificial intelligence. 

Next Steps in AI for Churches 

If you’re looking for ways to learn about AI, join the AI for Churches Facebook group. You may also consider joining an upcoming AI cohort or having an AI consultation. You can also start simply by jumping into a platform like SermonSpark. The important thing is for every church leader to take steps toward learning about AI and applying it to their church ministry. Then, you’ll be able to better share how to use AI with your church’s leadership and lead pastors.