New study reveals Christian views on ethical ministry uses of AI

Gloo


Christians show optimism in using AI for a growing set of ministry tasks

BOULDER, Colo. — New research data from Barna Group, conducted in partnership with Gloo, the leading technology platform dedicated to connecting the faith ecosystem and releasing its collective might, revealed areas of approval — and disapproval — of the appropriate uses of artificial intelligence. The study included both U.S. Christian adults and general U.S. adult populations to better understand cultural acceptance and use of AI.

Christians & AI – Key findings:


In response to “Which do you feel AI could do better, and which do you feel a human could do better?”:

  • Most believe that spiritual counseling (86%) and mental health counseling (84%) could be better done by humans.
  • Two in three Christians (67%) feel that AI could perform administrative tasks such as scheduling or planning as well as or better than humans.
  • Just over half (53%) believe AI could organize music set lists as well as or better than humans.
  • Half of Christians (50%) see AI as equal to or better than humans in giving church budgeting advice.
  • While 63% see humans as being the best at writing and developing sermons, 32% see AI as being an equal or better alternative.

“We know from our recent research findings that most people, not just Christians, are navigating where and when to use AI in alignment with their personal values. It’s no surprise that most Christian adults believe ministry tasks requiring a personal touch should be done by humans,” said Steele Billings, head of AI at Gloo, “But what may be surprising to most ministry leaders is that many Christians are optimistic about using AI beyond just everyday administrative tasks.”

U.S. Adults & AI – Key findings:

In response to how much U.S. adults personally approve of AI-generated art being treated like man-made art:

  • Fewer than half (44%) approve of AI-generated literature.
  • Roughly two in five U.S. adults (43%) strongly disapprove of AI-generated music using the voices of music artists.
  • Nearly two in five (38%) also strongly disapprove of AI-generated art imitating the style of a famous artist.
  • Younger people embrace AI in creative fields, with 61% agreeing that AI can contribute to art, music and storytelling, compared to just 32% of Boomers.

“The research shows gradual but dynamic shifts in how individuals engage with this technology from ethical considerations to a desire for greater competency in its use,” said Ashley Ekmay, lead researcher at Barna. “As AI continues to evolve, there are signs that people are increasingly grappling with its implications.”

Supporting its commitment to educate and equip ministry leaders on AI, Gloo recently announced two prominent guests attending its second annual AI & the Church HackathonPat Gelsinger, Intel CEO and Bobby Gruenewald, CEO of YouVersion. The hackathon is part of the Gloo AI & the Church Initiative, designed to help the Church responsibly navigate and engage the evolving landscape of AI.

The Gloo and Barna research partnership will continue to assess and share the growing questions, trends and perspectives on faith and AI throughout the year.

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Gloo is the trusted platform that releases the collective might of the faith ecosystem. As a leading technology innovator, Gloo connects people, partners, world-class content, funding opportunities and more to help ministries achieve their goals and change more lives. Gloo has more than 70,000 churches using its platform and connects as many as 1,000 new people to churches each day. Gloo is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Barna Group is a visionary research and resource company based in Dallas, Texas. Started in 1984, the firm is widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. Conducting more than two million interviews over the course of thousands of studies, Barna has become a go-to source for insights about faith and culture, leadership and vocation and generations. Barna has worked with thousands of businesses, nonprofit organizations and churches across the U.S. and around the world. Barna is an independent, privately-held, nonpartisan organization based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in Nashville, Tennessee, Ventura, California, and Atlanta, Georgia.


About this survey
This data is based on a survey of 1,072 U.S. adults and 656 U.S. Christian adults from May 21–31, 2024. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For this survey, researchers used an online panel for data collection and observed a quota random sampling methodology. Quotas were set to obtain a minimum readable sample by a variety of demographic factors and samples were weighted by region, ethnicity, education, age and gender to reflect natural presence in the American population.

Contact:
Sarah Bunyea
Gloo
571-205-1931
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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