Well I bring this series on Chat GPT and preparing Sunday’s Sermon to a close. I had fun doing it and will probably use Chat GPT for other things in the future, but I have honestly reached the end of the possibilities for this current endeavor. It is not a limitless resource.
This post is to sum up what I think I have learned from this fun little experiment. And to mock the incessant 3 point cliche of old school Homiletics that Chat GPT seems so incapable of leaving behind, I sum up my take always in 3 points:
1) Chat GPT is pretty cool, but it does obviously does not replace the hard work of one’s own reflections, exegesis of the text, and preparation. Will there be some who uncritically copy and paste the answers from Chat GPT and attempt to “preach” that? Yes I would imagine there will be. Just as there have always been those who take sermons from other people or from different forums online and use those. Those people are lazy and untruthful.
2) Chat GPT might be best used by the preacher as another tool in the tool belt. It is not something I will use on a week-by-week basis in the preparation of my sermon, but it is something I might use in the future to help come up with ideas. There is nothing wrong with listening to other people’s sermons or reading other people’s sermons in order to generate your own ideas. There is nothing wrong with using other people’s ideas so long as proper credit is given or acknowledged in some way. It is the attempt to use these things to avoid one’s own hard work and discipline that is the potential problem area. And so it is with Chat GPT. If it is one thing the preacher has to generate creative ideas then fantastic! But if it is something we use to avoid our own hard work then shame on us.
3) Chat GPT is undeniably fun to play around with. I’d recommend it. But it is also undeniably limited. It is after all artificial intelligence. To stay fresh and excited in this craft of preaching we need to cultivate actual intelligence. And I mean this in the broadest sense possible. We need intelligence of all the spheres: emotional, mental, physical, etc. This is something that can only be mimicked by things like Chat GPT, but never actualized like it can in a real person. Put a truly intelligent person beside any form of artificial intelligence and the difference is undeniable. We as preachers are given the task of becoming intellectuals of substance.
I am certain that I am not the only one experimenting around with Chat GPT and homiletics. As I become aware of anything I will come back and update this post with links to that material. If you are aware of any please let me know in the comments below or contact me using my about page.