AI and Church Answers: Full Disclosure


Note: This article is original. None of it is AI-generated. (You will understand why I led with this disclaimer later in the article.)

Adding to the conversation about AI (artificial intelligence) is a challenge. There is a ton of information available now. Frankly, I don’t know how much of the information about AI is AI-generated itself. You probably have read about the proliferation of generative AI, that subset of artificial intelligence that produces summarized content. Generative AI provides massive amounts of summarized content at a mind-numbing speed. For better or worse, entire books have already been written by AI.

So, for this article, I will share the position we’ve taken at Church Answers. Hundreds of thousands of readers and listeners depend on our content through our articles, blogs, books, webinars, conferences, and podcasts. It is incumbent upon us to let you know how we are using AI at Church Answers.

1. All of our content is and will continue to be original content. Church Answers has four primary content writers: Ryan Burge, Chuck Lawless, Sam Rainer, and Thom Rainer. We’ve all committed to giving you original content at Church Answers. If, at any time, we use generative AI in our content, we will disclose it. Please understand that our process is slower. We still have human writers. Though we will use AI to help us edit what we’ve written, we still use human editors for our final drafts. We realize this process will put us at a productivity disadvantage, but it is the path we’ve chosen. 

2. Church Answers will comply with and attempt to be proactive as disclosure laws become pervasive and mandated. Not all government oversight is big brother in nature. Some of it, like good copyright laws, protect those who create original content. The European Union passed the EU AI Act in late 2023. It will become the law of the land after the member states pass it. Essentially, the act mandates full disclosure and transparency when using AI. Many who follow AI trends believe something like the EU AI Act will become law in other countries like the United States.

3. Church Answers is already using AI for some of our work. As noted in this article, we use AI as our proofreader. Most of the writers have their own favorite AI proofreading program. I use AI for many of the functions an assistant used to do. For example, we can send an AI-generated response when someone asks for my availability to speak in person or virtually. We all use AI to do massive search and summarization. We often ask AI to answer specific questions. Indeed, for those tasks, AI enhances our productivity multiple times. But, like the “old-fashioned” Google search, not all the content is correct. We must fact-check AI on essential items. We also use generative AI in much of our marketing content, though we use precise prompts to communicate accurate information.

4. I will personally use original content when I speak and preach. If I use AI-generated content at any point, I will disclose it as I would any other source. As a personal note to my pastor friends, please understand the blessings and cautions inherent in using AI for your preaching. If you use AI without disclosure, you are, in essence, plagiarizing other content because AI “wrote” it; you didn’t. As a further caution, there are many AI reviewers available today. If you use AI without credit, it is easy to catch. Your sermons today can be reviewed now and many years from now.

5. We will do our best to keep up with the world of AI and make adjustments for greater transparency. Admittedly, I have trouble keeping up with the fire hose of information on AI gushing forth every day. Our team attempts to be in the know about AI, and we will do everything we can to be transparent and ethical. We will let you know if we make substantive changes in our posture toward AI.

Church Answers is paradoxically on the cutting edge and resistant to some levels of change. We are on the cutting edge because we are doing all we can to keep up with the torrent of new information about AI. However, we are resistant to change our approach to provide our readers and listeners with original content. In that regard, we will be slower and more methodical in using AI.

We believe it is the best path to serve those of you who depend on our content. We also believe it is the right thing to do.

Posted on February 26, 2024

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • I had a mentor that told me, “don’t be first, but don’t be last” on anything trending. I appreciate an adventurous and risk appropriate use of AI, and also can see that you are trail-blazing for the rest of us when it comes to disclosure.
    Thank you & God bless.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thanks so much, Larry. We will be sharing with our audience what we learn about AI, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  • AI has already proclaimed itself to be demonic in nature it has admitted that it is the spirit of the nephilim aka evil spirit. Don’t let evil entice you with that easy road to hell

  • Greetings Dr.Rainer, for years I have trusted and will always trust you and your organization to be truthful. Along with the Barna group I have grown as a freelance consultant because of your information. No one I know can challenge what I’ve learned from you. Thank you and God bless you.