False Witness: Austin Pastor Uses ChatGPT to Create the First AI Church Experience

False Witness: Austin Pastor Uses ChatGPT to Create the First AI Church Experience September 27, 2023

When you think some Christians couldn’t mail it in for God any worse, here comes an official AI Church! As in, the entire Sunday morning–worship, message, and prayer. Welcome to Violet City Crown Church in Austin, Texas because who needs God when you have Google?!

In previous generations, if a pastor woke up late on a Sunday, church service would stand still. Let that happen in the post-pandemic world and watch people dart for the parking lot to watch church on their phones.

Some parishioners left hanging out in the pews to give a side-eye to the choir because they keep those big dudes in there just “to make it look bigger.” People tend to get caddy when things take too long in service, so a concerned cleric needs to make up for time and keep the peace. They cut the sermon short, have one less song during worship, or even play a video to end just in time for the football game.

During those special occasions, those not-so-active church leaders have discovered a new tool — artificial intelligence.

Meet Jay Cooper, Texas Pastor and ChatGPT Fan

Jay Cooper used ChatGPT to make an entire church service
Courtesy: Fox News Channel

When Pastor Cooper mailed it in to rest his feet or something, he shared with local and some national media (see above) that he used ChatGPT for everything during this peculiar service.

“ChatGPT kicked out about a 15-minute service, like a shotgun sermon, an outline,” Cooper said. “It’s very clear that a human element is still needed. I had to fill out the service with additional prompts and add a couple prompts to the sermon to kind of beef it up.”

He had to work diligently on “a couple of prompts.” Talk about a rough Sunday. His purpose was to have parishioners consider the question (possibly one of those challenging prompts), “What is sacred?”  

The church posted a link to the AI-generated service, wanting viewers to “consider what it means to find the sacred and receive truth amid a time when most of us assume we will find neither.”

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20 NKJV)

That service sounded sacred unless Jay was sitting by himself because the Spirit of God was there. And even if he was going solo, our bodies are considered the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV). The Lord doesn’t have a cheat code. Church isn’t a bonus. Our salvation is a “walk,” which means it requires work–real work.

When that kind of investment is made, emotions will happen. You can’t be around the presence of God without your feelings getting involved. At least, that should happen. Even people at Violet Crown City Church thought so.

“I’m not sure that AI can actually express the emotions of love and kindness and empathy,” Parishioner Ernest Chambers said to KVUE-TV. “I think that we must practice love and express that. Not only feel it, but we must express it.”

ChatGPT doesn’t have a “praise mode,” and AI doesn’t “feel God.” We need to reach God and then receive Him. How can you do that at the press of a button? It’s ironic about the link of that service to “find the sacred and receive truth…when most of us assume we can find neither.”

Hey, don’t look now, Jay, but no one found them at your place either.


About Shawn Paul Wood
For more than 20 years, Shawn Paul Wood has been an award-winning storyteller for global marketing and advertising agencies and some of the most notable names in their respective industries. Today, Shawn runs Woodworks Communications, an agency about the written word based on The Word. You can read more about the author here.

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