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Following AI-Generated Worship Service, Texas Pastor Reflects on ‘Learning Opportunity,’ Says AI Is Not ‘Spirit-Empowered’

Violet Crown City Church
Screengrab via Fox News Digital

Last month, Violet Crown City Church in Austin, Texas, made headlines after the church livestreamed a traditional worship service in which the order of service, prayers, sermon, liturgy, and even an original song were created by ChatGPT. 

While the Sept. 17 service was an innovative attempt to “challenge our assumptions about what God can make sacred and inspired,” it isn’t something that pastor Jay Cooper would ever want to do again. 

While ChatGPT was remarkably competent at creating simple service elements, Cooper said that what generative AI tool produced could quickly become “goofy.”

“It can get [relatively] real quickly,” Cooper told Fox News Digital. “But then…it would make these odd jokes, these kinds of metaphors or things they would try to tie in just did not make any sense.”

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Most importantly, Cooper said that the service did not feel “human.”

“Although it was making some interesting points, it did not have the human element,” Cooper said. “I knew that it was not from my own mind or heart. It’s ‘scraping,’ I guess you could say, from humanity and Scripture. But is it Spirit-empowered? Can people still hear it in the same way?”

“And I think the answer to that was, ‘No, they cannot,’” Cooper added. 

Nevertheless, Cooper’s reflection on the limits of artificial intelligence in helping create spiritually-minded material does not signal a change of direction. The AI-generated worship service was always intended to be a “one-time experiment,” and promotional material for the service stated as much.

Cooper said that the experiment “was kind of twofold.”

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“One, I mean, I really believe that if it’s happening in the world, our people need to be very aware of it and not just have a loose understanding, but to have seen it in action, be able to speak intelligently about it,” Cooper said, “because a lot of ethical concerns are going to be coming up here soon. And so to address these things head on: Okay, so does this have any role in the church at all?”