Faith-based tech company sees AI as helper for church ministry

Faith-based tech company sees AI as helper for church ministry

Faith-based tech company sees AI as helper for church ministry

It appears artificial intelligence is here to stay, so what does that mean for the Church?

Brad Hill is the chief solutions officer at Gloo, a faith-based tech company that helps church ministries. He says the cutting-edge technology known as AI holds both promise and peril for society and for the Church.

“AI is so pervasive now in the way we shop, the way we get our news, the way we approach education,” he tells AFN. “I mean, it really is kind of permeating every part of culture.”

Artificial intelligence, in the simplest terms, is computer-based technology that replaces human intelligence.

That concept was introduced to many in the Terminator movie franchise and a self-aware computer network called Skynet. More recently, billionaire genius Elon Musk was warning Congress a year ago AI has moved far beyond a customer service “chatbot” to new territory without an ethical framework or regulatory guardrails.

Every new technology is traditionally mistrusted, especially by older generations, and that is especially true for the Church when something new and shiny – and really strange – comes along.

Realizing how new technology is often perceived, Hill says Gloo is encouraging Christians to have a "really interesting conversation" about this new AI technology and the opportunities it provides churches. 

The leader of AI technology at Gloo is Steele Billings. In a related article about AI and technlogy, Billings likens AI to the invention of the steam engine in 1712. From that invention came steam-powered boats and steam-powered trains, which revolutionized transportation. The steam engine even revolutionized the printing press, invented 200 years earlier, when the steam-powered rotary press came into use in the 1800s.

Much like the steam engine, Billings writes, AI is on a “trajectory to transform every aspect of out lives.”

In church ministry, that means AI tools can turn a Sunday sermon into small-group lessons; edit sermon clips for social media; track church attendance; and assist the pastor with sermon research. That is a far cry from Skynet, which is the point.

“We believe it is a moral imperative to responsibly use technology to advance human flourishing,” Gloo CEO Scott Beck states on the company website. “AI is a powerful technology that should better enable, not replace, relationships.”