A lot of people love ChatGPT, and as an expert in emerging technologies and their impact on the church, I get asked a lot about how churches can realistically use ChatGPT to improve their church processes without losing the human touch. Well, ChatGPT shines brightest when we leverage it for reformatting our content, so let me share with you my favorite hacks for one of the most pervasive content types in 99.9% of churches: the sermon!
First things first: feed ChatGPT your sermon
While there are now API based modules that can get some current information, ChatGPT lacks a native way of getting the actual content of your recent sermon. The best way to do this is to get a transcript of the sermon, either from copy and pasting out of YouTube or if you are pre-recording and editing (please start doing this) then you can use any number of transcription tools. My current favorite is the amazing transcription ability in DaVinci Resolve Studio.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to work with a sermon from Erwin McManus over at Mosaic Church:
I got the transcript by turning on the full transcript option Inside YouTube. I copied the whole thing, then fed it into ChatGPT in two parts (it’s a 43-minute sermon, he can get away with it as a world-class communicator but most of you shouldn’t go that long). Now we are ready to work with ChatGPT to do some cool stuff with that sermon!
1. Remind people to take the action points
Most people will forget what your sermon was about or what the point was by the time they sit down for lunch. That’s why a mid-week email reminder can be so powerful.
Here’s what I like to ask ChatGPT to do with the sermon:
Please write an email that reminds people of the big idea found in the sermon and encourages them to apply it to a practical action based on that idea. The email should be short, not more than 2 paragraphs, and the voice should be fun and friendly.
Side note: I’m a big fan of “please” and “thank you” when dealing with AI… let’s just say I watched one too many sci-fi movies and am hoping to be largely ignored during any potential uprising of our robot overlords! 🤖🤣
Anyhow, robo-apocalypse aside, here’s the output we get from that prompt based on Erwin McManus’ sermon:
I hope this email brings a burst of energy to your day! Just wanted to remind you of the big idea from the sermon: connection is everything. So here’s a fun challenge for you: reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and spread some love and positivity. It could be a family member, a friend, or even a colleague.
Take a moment to send them a heartfelt message, share a funny meme, or simply let them know you’re thinking of them. Trust me, the impact of your connection can be far-reaching! Let’s unleash our potential by fostering meaningful relationships and making someone’s day a little brighter.
You’ve got this! Now go ahead and spread that contagious joy. Keep shining, my friend!
Not half bad…. frankly even before tweaking that’s more impactful than the overwhelming majority of emails pastors send out. A couple quick edits and we are good to go.
Pro Tip: One thing you may also want to do is teach ChatGPT about your volunteer and ministry activities. This way, it can also connect sermons to clear calls of action to specific volunteer opportunities when they fit.
2. Create social media posts
Next up is social. If you are like me, you aren’t necessarily the most inclined to post a lot on social 🤷, but this is where letting ChatGPT be our social media addicted virtual assistant really shines!
Let’s ask it to put together some social media posts:
Please create 10 potential tweets that encourage people to apply the big idea found in the sermon in their daily life activities. It should be fun and include popular hashtags.
Yep, that’s giving us a whole lot of application points we can toss into social media posts:
- “🌟 Connect for Impact! Reach out to someone today and make their day brighter. #SpreadLove #ConnectionIsEverything”
- “🤝 Unleash your potential through meaningful connections! Take a coffee break with a coworker and build those relationships. ☕️ #WorkConnections #UnleashYourPotential”
- “📱💬 Text a friend and let them know how awesome they are! Small gestures can have a big impact. #FriendshipGoals #StayConnected”
- “🌱🌍 Cultivate connections that nourish your soul and inspire growth. Surround yourself with positive influences. #PositiveVibes #NurtureConnections”
- “🎉 Share the love! Organize a virtual game night with friends and laugh together. 🎲 #GameNightFun #ConnectionIsKey”
- “💡 Unlock your full potential by collaborating with others. Teamwork makes the dream work! #CollaborationNation #DreamTeam”
- “🌈 Spread kindness like confetti! Surprise a neighbor with a handwritten note of encouragement. 💌 #KindnessMatters #SpreadJoy”
- “💪 Build a strong support network by joining a local community group. Together, we can accomplish great things! #CommunityStrong #TogetherWeRise”
- “🌟 Embrace diversity and expand your horizons. Engage in conversations with people from different backgrounds. #EmbraceDiversity #ExpandYourWorld”
- “🎵 Dance like nobody’s watching, but invite someone to join in! Share a dance video and tag a friend to boogie with you. 💃🕺 #DanceParty #ConnectionMoves”
Now, you will notice that those aren’t perfect per se, but several of them will do.
Let’s also grab some to remind people of the sermon points:
Please create 10 potential tweets that remind people of the points found in the sermon. It should be fun and include popular hashtags.
And from that prompt we also get a bunch of social posts we can use:
- “🌟 Don’t just go through the motions, live a life of purpose! #FindYourWhy #LiveWithPurpose”
- “🌱 Embrace connection as the secret ingredient to a fulfilling life. #ConnectionIsKey #LifeInFullBloom”
- “💡 You were designed for connection, so reach out and make someone’s day brighter! #SpreadPositivity #MakeADifference”
- “🌈 Let love and kindness be the legacy you leave behind. #ChooseLove #BeKindAlways”
- “💪 Unlock your potential by staying connected to the source of life. #UnleashYourPotential #StayConnected”
- “🎯 Set your sights on meaningful relationships and watch your life flourish. #RelationshipGoals #LiveInFullColor”
- “🌟 Be an unexplainable proof of God’s goodness through your words and actions. #BeTheLight #InspireOthers”
- “🎉 Celebrate the victories of others and watch your own joy multiply. #SpreadJoy #CelebrateTogether”
- “🌱 Surround yourself with people who challenge, inspire, and uplift you. #ChooseYourCircle #GrowthMinded”
- “💫 Step into the limitless possibilities of a life connected to the primary source. #TapIntoTheSource #LimitlessPotential”
You’ll definitely have enough for you and/or your team to work with from those.
3. Grab some shorts
Sometimes you also want some short-form content that leads to your long-form content. Usually that means finding some really impactful or insightful moment in your sermon and taking a clip to share. If you are like me, finding those moments can be a real challenge.
Here’s a prompt we can use to get the quote and time:
Please select 5 quotes from the sermon that have a viral quality that we can use as a short-form video clip. Include popular hashtags we can draw on.
Since I’m using DaVinci and can literally cut based on a search of text, I don’t need timestamps. If you need timestamps and included them in your sermon upload, then you can ask ChatGPT to also provide a timestamp.
Here’s the output we got from ChatGPT:
- “Connection is everything. Stay plugged in to the source of life. #StayConnected #PowerOfConnection”
- “You were created for more than just going through the motions. Live a life of purpose and passion. #LiveWithPurpose #FindYourCalling”
- “Don’t just produce fruit, be an unexplainable proof of God’s goodness in your life. #BeTheProof #GodsGoodness”
- “Tap into the limitless power of a life connected to the primary source. #UnleashThePower #LimitlessPotential”
- “Choose love, kindness, and integrity as the fruits that define your character. #ChooseLove #BeKind #WalkInIntegrity”
Not bad, perhaps a bit too short, but certainly enough to tease the sermon and lead people to the entire long-form sermon content. 😉
So, all that took us maybe 15-minutes at most to generate and, depending on the level of operational maturity your church has, it may have taken you or your team even a day to put together otherwise! The key is to think of AI not as your replacement, but as your assistant. Don’t shout from the rooftop the evils of AI writing sermons… nobody wants that… but start letting it repackage message God has given you and get it broader exposure. 😎
If you are looking for more insight on ChatGPT and AI, you might enjoy this article on AI in church.