Remember when apps first hit the scene? (I may be dating myself here.) Back then, it felt like only super-smart developers could create them. Today, seven-year-olds create their own apps. Teenagers edit complex videos with ease. And recently, AI technology took a huge step forward in terms of being super easy for the common person to use. That’s because OpenAI just launched the ability for anyone to create a no-code custom GPT.

But what does that even mean? And why would you want a custom GPT for your church? Read on.

What is a GPT?

GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. It refers to a group of AI models built by the company OpenAI. General-purpose language models, GPTs can be trained to perform a range of tasks, from writing content or code to extracting data. They analyze natural language queries – what you may know as a ‘prompt’ – and predict possible responses. Those predictions come from the fact that they’ve been trained on billions of parameters from massive language datasets. For example:

  • ChatGPT enables users to chat with a bot, asking it to complete word-related tasks.
  • The AI image generator DALL-E turns words into images.

So what IS a custom GPT?

A custom GPT is a GPT built with expertise to accomplish a specific task. So yes, ChatGPT and Dall-E are, in effect, custom GPTs. But now, anyone can make a custom GPT. Anyone who signs up for OpenAI’s paid plan that currently costs $20/month, that is. Right now, custom GPTs can only be accessed by someone who has a paid OpenAI account. But OpenAI plans to open a store – similar to the Apple App store or the Google Play store.

Here are some examples of newer custom GPTs that people have built.

  • Game Time can quickly explain board game or card game rules.
  • Data Analysis can analyze and visualize any shared data.

Now think of all of the things that happen within the walls of your church. How many opportunities exist to create a custom GPT that can make your to-do list easier?

Custom GPTs for Churches: Really Awesome Electronic Helpers

Churches need to move away from thinking of generative AI platforms as a source of decision-making wisdom and move toward thinking of them as electronic helpers that are really good at specific internal tasks. As a church leader, you don’t need a computer system to give you a strategy for your children’s ministry. But you could use it for ideas, editing, writing, and organization.

As we head into the Christmas season, think of yourself as Santa and your custom GPTs as Santa’s elves, working hard behind the scenes to get everything done in the workshop.

How to Create a Custom GPT

ChatGPT has made it pretty simple to create your own GPT. Once you’re logged into your paid account, all you have to do is click “Explore” and then “Create a GPT.” ChatGPT will then prompt you to tell it what you want your GPT to do. At that point, you’ll be able to give it all the knowledge it needs to do what you want it to do. There’s even a spot to upload files. Once it’s created, you can add new knowledge, logic, or ideas to help it produce more consistently accurate results.

Custom GPTs and the Church

5 Custom GPTs to Create for Your Church

Here is a list of a few custom GPT ideas you could create for your church. To do this you’d need to give ChatGPT and knowledge it would need to know to create the best output possible. This could be information from your website or just your church’s preferences and ways of thinking about things.

#1- Edit Documents

  • A person can upload documents into a custom GPT. The platform can then be used to edit and improve the writing. If you upload your church’s brand guide to your custom GPT, you could make sure any document uploaded is in alignment with the church’s brand.

#2- Announcement-Creator

  • The communications pastor could upload any info from upcoming events and ask the custom GPT to write service announcements.

#3- Social Media Post-Creator

  • Church staff could use the custom GPT to create sample social media posts based on an uploaded transcript of the pastor’s weekend sermon.

#4- Sermon Schedule Suggestions

  • If you share your church’s previous sermon schedule and sermon summaries, a church staff could inquire about previous sermons and ask for help in creating future sermon series ideas.

#5- Website Chatbot

  • A church-content-specific chatbot could be used on your church website to answer common questions about your church and faith. However, at this time the custom GPT from OpenAI does not offer this as an option. There are other options that may move you closer to creating custom chatbots (affiliate link) like this, but OpenAI’s current offering is not it.

6 Interesting Custom GPTs Available for Churches Right Now

If you already have a paid subscription to ChatGPT, consider checking out the following custom GPTs that already exist.

#1- Custom GPT Finder – How about starting with a custom GPT that helps search all of the available custom GPTs on OpenAI?

#2- DALL-E – Of course a great place to start with custom GPTs is with image generation.

#3- Elegant Logo Creator – Uses DALL-E to help create logos.

#4- Designer GPT – create unique graphic designs and websites.

#5- Fact-Checker – Confirms the accuracy of information.

#6- Free AI SEO – Identifies the most helpful keywords on a given topic.

Should Churches Create Their Own Custom GPT?

Church leaders should find ways to use generative AI to save themselves loads of time. Some churches may decide to skip OpenAI’s paid subscription for now, instead planning to use as much of the free tools as possible. There are still free image generators out there as well. However, others may determine that $20 a month is worth it for access to DALL-E, ChatGPT-4, and all the custom GPTs.

Church leaders don’t need to rush to start a paid subscription for any AI. Instead, they should take their time, use what’s free, and decide what tasks are essential to get done consistently. Pastors could consider paying for platforms that help with the most annoying or time-consuming tasks.

AI Coaching for Churches

If your church is looking to get started with AI but doesn’t know where to begin, we’d love to help. Reach out and let’s chat. We are ready to answer any question your church has about AI and help your church take meaningful steps toward the future.