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Congregational Intelligence: Navigating AI for Faith Communities

Tim Shapiro

Tim Shapiro, President of Center for Congregations

Like other areas of life, artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into our congregations. What was it that a pastor of an Indiana congregation said to me? “While I put my heart into every sermon, sometimes I can’t help but wonder if some people think ChatGPT had a hand in it! ” 

At the Center for Congregations, we are already finding resources to help you navigate AI and congregational life. For example, read this article about a clergyperson with connections to AI innovators. 

So, yes, AI will bring about changes that will enhance congregational life. A lay leader, with a big smile, told me, “We used Google’s Gemini to collect barbecue recipes for our summer festival!” 

However, the Center for Congregations not only identifies and recommends resources, but also curates resources (I appreciate how the word curate is sometimes used to refer to a clergy person!). 

When we help you find an architect for a building assessment, or an article about young adults (each young adult is wonderfully different from the next), we’ve already performed AI-like work by sifting through numerous resources to recommend the best fit for your specific situation. 

We can do this because we have come to know you. After all, congregations are not like franchises such as Burger King. Your congregation is wonderfully unique. So, when we guide you toward a resource, we do so with a deep understanding of the resource and of you. And that’s something AI cannot do right now (perhaps by 2050!). 

I’m confident that you will find ways for AI to benefit your congregation. 

I’m also certain that the Center is prepared to help you with our unique brand of Congregational Intelligence. 

Oh, and just for fun, ask ChatGPT what it knows about the Center for Congregations in Indiana.

Tim Shapiro

President, Center for Congregations

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The Center for Congregations provides no-cost consulting to connect Indiana congregations with the best resources to navigate their challenges. Learn more about our Resource Consulting services here.

We also invite you to visit the Congregational Resource Guide (CRG), an online tool powered by the Center for Congregations. The CRG is designed to help leaders of all congregations find the right resources to address their unique challenges and needs.