Skip to main content



Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp

We’re back at it again Bootcampers. Bob is battling Chipmunks and Jimbo is trying to be sympathetic and fortunately, the CEO of our great sponsor, One Eighty Digital, Wesley Lewis dropped by to help us understand how AI (Artificial Intelligence) impacts ministry and life.

Things to keep in mind regarding AI

  • It is being used (advertisements, social media etc.)
  • It can be helpful (drafting emails, correspondence etc.)
  • It has limitations (it can be incorrect)
  • It can make your work easier and faster.

Some Cautions to keep in mind

  • It is insufficient in doing the work that changes you (sermon prep, prayer)
  • It is a temptation to become a substitute for hard work
  • It may be, in certain instances, a matter of integrity when it comes to you representing its work as your content.

Mentioned in the podcast:


JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are, back at the bootcamp. Back at it again, Bob. I hope you’re ready for the next episode as we keep diving in to the world of replanting and revitalization together. It’s good to be with you again, brother

Bob Bickford: Jimbo, it’s good to be here. I’ve been battling Nature

JimBo Stewart: Nature.

Bob Bickford: Yes, we have a chipmunk population that has inhabited the Bickford house.

JimBo Stewart: Okay.

Bob Bickford: In various places and, uh, daks dog, the newest edition is losing his ever-loving mind, trying to find them Jimbo. So I just wanna let all the boot campers know that I am practicing a humane version of capture, relocate, and release.

JimBo Stewart: Man, that’s very kind of you. Have you ever seen the Mark Robber, video where he does the obstacle course for the squirrels in his backyard? That’s amazing. Like I really would love to see the bickford version of that, that, that where you just create your own obstacle course for this chipmunk.

Bob Bickford: He doesn’t like load one of the [00:01:00] obstacles with like, m eighties firecrackers and blow ’em up. Does

JimBo Stewart: No, no. It’s, it’s humane. It’s, it’s the, the squirrels seem to have a good time.

Bob Bickford: All right. So I don’t wanna do anything to encourage the squirrels to continue to be a part of my ecosystem in the backyard, because we have a walnut tree and, it costs like $10,000 to get it cut down.

And I’m just not gonna do that. So I battle the walnuts and battle the squirrels and, you know, we, we may lose a few to the dogs this year, I don’t know, but, you know, circle of life, Jimbo Circle of


JimBo Stewart: of life.

It is, yeah. That’s the real thing, man. Talk about battling things and, the circle of life. you know, last week we had on Luke Holmes, super sharp, super smart guy. his energy level never gets below, above like a two. on, a scale of one to 10, but his brain level is always at like a 15.

So, uh, he’s always thinking at a pretty high level. We talked about resolution number one from the Southern Baptist Convention and listeners, I promise [00:02:00] you we’re not about to do a really long series on all the resolutions, that came outta the Southern Baptists Convention, but I thought it’d be fun for us to talk about resolution number three and the battle against artificial intelligence.

Bob Bickford: Dun Dun Jimbo. Is AI gonna kill us? Am I gonna wake up sometime and my phone is gonna zap me? In the head or the teddy Ruxpin doll that was from the eighties. Is he gonna come alive and stab me or something? What’s gonna happen?

JimBo Stewart: Look, I saw I, you know, I love videos, man. I saw a video of somebody took a Furby doll and, and used chat, g p t a p i in there and like made it like a legit like furby doll that you could have a real conversation was pretty amazing. I mean,

that’s, It’s pretty impressive. I mean, let’s be honest, Bob, I mean, everything we say on here is really just generated by chat, G p t.

We don’t even have any real witty banter. We just, we just type in into chat. G P T, what should we talk about on the bootcamp today? And it says, welcome Mr. Stewart. I’m glad to help you. [00:03:00] And it, it just gives me the whole script. We just go by it word by word. Even right now, just reading words off a screen.

Bob Bickford: Well, if that’s the case, then you and I have nothing to fear from chat, G P T.

JimBo Stewart: You would think artificial intelligence would be a little more intelligent.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. If our podcast is any measure of that, we’re safe.

JimBo Stewart: Man, we’re excited to have with us on the podcast today, Wesley Lewis from 180 Digital, which is our sponsor. when it comes to our technology and the most intelligent things that we do, our website, replant, which is, if you’ve not been there recently, you should go. Because most of these episodes are now being, adapted into blog articles, and there’s blog articles from previous episodes.

There’s a search bar you can look and find great information on. There’s a resources page, a lot of helpful stuff, which is built for us by the great people at 180 Digital. Wesley, welcome again back to the [00:04:00] bootcamp.

Wesley Lewis: I know guys, it’s been a while since I’ve been on the show. glad to be here. Glad to support you guys with what y’all are doing. you know, those could be back. Thanks for having me.

JimBo Stewart: So you gotta help us answer these questions, you know, resolution number three. I’m not gonna read the whole thing to you. but there was one resolved article that I one resolved line out of there, out of all the resolves that I thought would be a good to kind of just spark our conversation and get your insight.

It says, Resolved. We must proactively engage and shape these emerging technologies rather than simply respond to the challenges of AI and other emerging technologies after they have already affected our churches and communities. So what is artificial intelligence, Wesley, and why can we not just ignore it?

Wesley Lewis: Yeah, so, you know, we, we, we pay very close attention to the technology space and just everything that’s happening across the board. We are always about integrating new tools and new capabilities into our [00:05:00] systems and things like that. And I know for the most of the world, this thing kind of burst onto the scene out of nowhere, and, scared a lot of people with what it could do.

But ultimately this is something that’s been happening in the background for really almost 10 years now with, what they call machine learning, just with large language models where they have the capability to be able to analyze how language fits together. And, you know, so this has been a technology that’s been evolving over time here and really has come to a point where, it’s now ready to be used by the masses.

And so, so yeah, when they kind of took the lid off of it, it was, it was pretty scary. I mean, it was kind of scary, like, wow, how good this thing is. You know, chat, G p t or Jasper or even, some of those other ones. There’s lots of new ones coming on online right now, but, there’s, it’s pretty, pretty cool.

And there’s lots of things that you can use. Use it for that. I’m sure we’ll dive into a little bit.

Bob Bickford: So Wesley, one of the things that we have heard in the media is that. AI could kill us. [00:06:00] Right. And, you know, Jimbo and I were joking about that earlier, but what are some of the real threats to us, to, society, to the economy, to the job world, church world? Did, can you just give us a range of what we, what we probably should keep an eye

JimBo Stewart: Two. To John Connor and the world.

Wesley Lewis: If Arnold Schwarzenegger walks into the back of your church, okay, this is, you better get down. you know, I know there’s a lot of things to be kind of scared about and, what I really like the term where it’s kind of been homed a little bit. Since ai, what’s the difference between. You know, the John Con, I mean the, Terminator AI here and what we’re looking at here with chat G P T and some of these other things.

And really the, the terminology has come around generative ai. That this is something that can generate things that we can use, that help us kind of get things off the ground. I like to kind of use the illustration of. you know, of a rocket taking off the, the [00:07:00] most of the, the fuel that’s in a rocket.

it happens at the very beginning. Like to get that thing off the ground, get all that weight just moving, and that, that’s where it uses most of its fuel. And I think for us, if you’re like me, Just the initial thought of having to come up with things to write about, you know, topics or, images. Just even that basic kind of, work that comes, comes into play.

This is a tool that helps us get things off the ground and then we take it and make it more than that. So, I mean, is it something that’s really gonna kill us? I don’t think so. you know, and to differentiate that from. What we’re talking about here with, you know, kind of, Cyberdyne and some of these other movies, that sci-fi movies that we’ve had around for a long time.

This is a tool that we have in our hands that we determine how we use it. It is not hacking into other systems. It is not. something that, you know, at this point is making decisions on its own. It’s responding and generating text and graphics and voices and things like [00:08:00] that, in a way that, is useful for us.

Now, there is potential, like with every new technology on how it can be used, and that happens in the hands of the people that use it, not necessarily the technology itself. So I think we’re safe for now, but. at some point, yeah. Things will continue to, to grow and expand and we’ll see how people utilize it.

JimBo Stewart: So we’re safe for now, but it still could kill us one day.

Wesley Lewis: Yeah, I’ll be prepared. I’m, I’m packing a bag, but anyway, that’s another topic.

Bob Bickford: You know what I’m ready for? I, I am ready for, there’s an old cartoon that, the Jetsons, I don’t know if you guys know that cartoon, but they have this one feature. That they had in their space apartment where they could just get outta bed, step on a conveyor belt and go through this little like thing, and it would have it put on their clothes.

It did their hair. I mean, they were shaved, they were ready to go. I li I would like that because I hate the space between. When I wake up and then when I walk out the door, there’s a lot of [00:09:00] stuff I just like to bypass. So if chat G P T or AI will do that for me, Jimbo, I want to go on record to say here on the bootcamp podcast, I am for that.

JimBo Stewart: If we can simplify Bob’s morning routine, then, we’re, that’s a positive. No, I mean, I, like I say, all joking aside, I’m sure I’ll make plenty more jokes. It’s a fun topic. but like what, what are. Things that pastors of smaller, normative sized churches, replants, need to be mindful of, aware of, how there are people are engaging in this and how they should engage in this.

What are things that we need to be keeping in mind?

Wesley Lewis: So I would say the first one is just know that it is being used. Okay. And that it probably is being used on you. So whether that is from advertisements to, you know, video scripts to you know, know that probably you will if you haven’t already received email and. You’ll see social media posts that have been written by ai.

So it is something that, will [00:10:00] be done. But you know, for regular sized churches, I think that it is a tool that can really help. Again, to come back to my illustration of the rocket ship, you know, anytime we’re trying to put something together, maybe it is an email that you’re trying to use to address a group of people.

There’s a lot that goes into that. And considering maybe going to chat g p t to get a little bit of help there to kind of, to kind of maybe frame it up, then you can personalize it and take it to the next level. So it’s about, kind of plusing, it’s about kind of using it as a tool to just make those things even better, sharper, um, more accurate.

Cause a lot of the times, here’s what, here’s how I use it. Is, it’ll usually add an angle or give me some bit of information I just didn’t think about, right? It is gonna just kind of address something that maybe I didn’t consider, and I’m gonna incorporate that and that’s just gonna make things better for me.

so I mean, there’s lots of different ways between creating content for social media, writing blog articles, you know, website content. That’s what we use it a lot for here at 180. you know, helping with translation, doing, [00:11:00] announcements and, just kind of thinking about messaging. It can really help do a lot of that sort of thing.

And especially for pastors who are at normative sized churches who already have so much on their plate doing so many different things. This is really a tool that can save them a lot of time. And to Bob’s point, you know, we’re always looking for something that can just make our lives easier. Just the mundane things that we do all the time.

So, That can help us do those things faster or better or easier. This is, especially chat. BT is one of those tools that you can use to help, help do a lot of those things. I.

Bob Bickford: Man, I love that. An analysis of that, because I think what we’re struggling with, a as normative sized pastors oftentimes is the time and then the expertise, and we’ve been using artificial intelligence to actually help us with our writing. If you use Grammarly or if you use the new, word release, For Microsoft, you, you get the score on the side of, you know, here are the things you need to say differently.

Here’s how you need to structure the sentence differently. So we’re, we’re [00:12:00] doing that sort of thing. But I think that’s, that, that grades to a, common shared standard. I think what you might be helping us understand here is that some of the AI helps us hone our message in a way that gets it across. In a way that’s not bound by who we are and how we communicate it expands that and enhances that.

And I think what you said is it pluses is that, let’s just talk a philosophical question. Is that manipulative? Is that inauthentic? Or is that something that we can actually say, you know what, this is a resource that’s available to me and I might as well avail myself of it.

Wesley Lewis: So, yeah, the great question because as a, digital marketing agency, 180, we kind of get asked that question even just about marketing and church in general. Like, okay, how much of this is. Manipulation, how much of it is just kind of really knowing your audience and, I think it kind of falls into that latter current category of just really understanding your audience as a pastor myself, like, I’m always thinking about how what I’m saying [00:13:00] is gonna be received and how to say it the best way that it’ll be received, you know, the, the best, as best as it can be.

And so I’m considering that, and so I think that these. These, do the same thing, kind of keep into things that, in consideration of things that maybe we don’t know about. So whether that be, information. So it’s just ability to be able to understand things that maybe as a pastor we don’t understand, so we can ask it questions to use for sum.

So just the way that. Google and Microsoft both are integrating it into just the, the search boxes and their main search engines. There just its ability to be able to give information is, is amazing. And so you can use it to find a lot of answers and at the bottom you will see that it has a. A little caveat there that says, Hey, this, this could potentially give you wrong information because it’s not, the way it kind of synthesizes that is it pulls information from different sources, but those in those sources may be incorrect.

Then also as it understands an information, it could potentially. you know, I’ve seen a lot of things where they, they [00:14:00] put it to the test and like word problems. It doesn’t understand word problems. Again, this isn’t a brain we’re interacting with. It’s really just pulling information from, things that we’ve already put out there.

So it’s really looking at how words and things are associated together to be able to give us a good answer. That probably is correct, but not always. So,

JimBo Stewart: So I’ll, talk about some ways that I have utilized, chat G p t and things like that to help me with some things. Is as someone that is dyslexic, it’s oftentimes very difficult for me to. Be as clear and articulate in written language as I am verbally, in spoken language. and so it’s just, it’s hard for my brain to compute that for whatever reason.

And so as a result, sometimes my emails or things like that tend to be pretty direct. and I just get real right to the point, Hey, here’s what I need from you. and particularly there are times when you have to write emails that. may not be received greatly or messages, things like that. And so you wanna make sure you’re wording it in a really good way.

And I have found it a handful of times so [00:15:00] far to be really helpful in that task where I’ll go to chat g p t and I’ll say, Hey, I need to write an email to this person about this subject. These are the things I need to get across. Can you write that email in a friendly. But clear and professional way, and it’ll word things for me and it gets the grammar much better than I’m gonna get it and the wording.

And so sometimes I copy and paste portions of that. the heart of the content, the, the meat of the content is really what. I came up with that I knew I needed to communicate. It just helped me word it. It helped me copyright it in such a way that it would come across a little clearer, or at least nicer and, you know, have a little more to it than that.

It’s one way that I’ve started to utilize it.

Wesley Lewis: Yeah, it’s one of those things that you, you could use it to correct or give recommendations for it. So a lot of the times I’ll take an article that we’re posting, I created that article, but I’m gonna give it, you know, just say, Hey, write, or let me know if there’s anything that needs to be changed about this.

And it will find things that, even though we’ve already read the article three times, maybe there’s [00:16:00] something, punctuation or something that could make it even better. So it is a tool. That we can use just to, again, to come back to the idea of, of plus the things that we’re already doing. It also helps us understand maybe what some of our weaknesses are and, kind of help cover up some of those things so that we can do a better job overall.

And I, you know, on top of. Generating text content. And I think there’s a lot to be said about generating, you know, graphics and design that has, and we’re starting to incorporate this into a lot of our, workflows, is how can we use these tools? And Adobe is just coming out with a suite of them that’s just really fantastic.

We like ’em a lot. That really helps speed up our process of creating, editing, you know, graphics, design, recoloring things. There’s a lot of great tools that are coming out that way. And so on top of, I know there already were some out there for churches that just need graphics for things. I definitely think we’ll see.

a slew of new technologies and platforms that are gonna generate, original graphics, you know, for church that churches can use in social media or [00:17:00] for sermons and other things like that. So it’s gonna be cool.

Bob Bickford: Hey, let’s talk about, you mentioned sermons, and that’s one of the big hot topics for, pastors. In terms of writing sermon content. We’ve got a lot of guys who are bi-vocational, tri vocational, part-time volunteer. Maybe some have had seminary, some haven’t. And so along comes, artificial intelligence and there’s even starting to pop up sermon sites where you can, you know, give a little bit of content, maybe give a little bit of explanation, and then boom, you receive back this message.

how should we think about that? How should we employ that?

Wesley Lewis: Yeah. You know, I mean, there’s no, no replacing, just studying God’s word and coming up with it, and especially in a church context, you have to make the application to your audience. It has to be done in your voice. It needs to sound like you, it needs to be something that relays what God is leading you in your heart to kind of communicate to your congregation.

So, you know, AI is not gonna do that. it’s not gonna do [00:18:00] that well. but what it can do well is I think, just myself included, other pastors. Sometimes we get, we get pitched something at the very last minute where we’re not sure exactly how to handle it or what we’re gonna do. Maybe it could be speaking with a different age group.

Maybe it could be, coming up with, just some little devotion or something like that. I do think that there is a little bit of room there, when we don’t have the time to really prepare. The best of our ability to either take something that chat sheet PT has created and then tweak it and modify it for us to use and put it in our own own words and our own language and our own voice.

So, And, use it in a way. And I think that that’s, in my opinion, an appropriate use there. But it is not anything that we should ever consider to replace the hard work of studying God’s word that’s overflow out of the heart of what the Holy Spirit’s doing in your life. And so, you know, I know a lot of people will use it for those things because it can be used just in the same way as you can go online and download a sermon from.

a website and just preach it [00:19:00] straight out. I mean, so in the same way it’s something similar to that, but we all know that it’s not necessarily what’s best for your congregation. So, putting in the time, but to say the same thing I was saying earlier, sometimes we struggle with just, maybe summarizing certain things or finding an illustration do a point, I think as a tool that comes alongside of us creating our sermons and writing our sermons.

It can really help those things be even better,

JimBo Stewart: so

just for fun, I asked chat, g p T. Should pastors use artificial intelligence like you? To write sermons and, part of its answer I thought was actually pretty good. sermon preparation is a deeply personal and spiritual process that involves connecting with the needs and experiences of the congregation.

While AI can assist with technical aspects, the authenticity and personal touch of the message often come from the unique experiences, insights, and spiritual discernment of the pastor. Pastors should consider using AI tools as AIDS for research inspiration and refinement, but the core [00:20:00]message and guidance should still come from their own theological understanding, pastoral experience, and connection to the congregation.

Ultimately, the decision to use AI and servant preparation should be based on the pastor’s comfort level, the needs of the congregation, and the overall goals of the ministry. Mean, I think a chat g bt just gave a pretty solid answer to that. you know, yeah. I think as it’s helping you refine things as it’s helping you, reword or, wordsmith something, I think that’s a helpful tool, that we should use advantage.

But it should never do the study for you. It should never, figure out the interpretation for you. That’s, I mean, you gotta do that work. through the hermeneutics that you’ve learned either from seminary or just from somebody who taught you how to write sermons or if you don’t know how to write sermons, let’s do another podcast on that at some point.

Teaching you how to write sermons. but Chad, g b t is not the answer for that. and that’s not exactly where we need to go. I’ll tell you one other thing I’ve started to use and then, is speechify is. An artificial intelligence, reader that uses voices of [00:21:00] celebrities or just different voices, to read things to me as someone who’s dyslexic.

 I have the plugins on Chrome and on my safari on my phone where I get an article and I can just press play and I can have Snoop Dogg read the whole article to me. and it’s actually much easier for me to understand that way than. Just reading it outright. So, listen, as you consider using artificial intelligence or as you consider, you know, becoming a prepper, cuz you’re scared that Arnold Schwarzenegger is coming. Uh, Either way, our trust, our hope was in the sovereignty of God, not in anything technology can ever do for us. definitely what I would say is a legitimate, honest, like concern. Definitely do not let. Artificial intelligence or anyone do the hard work of spending time with your soul and your heart and your mind sitting in and abiding in the word of God to guide you.

There is no shortcut for that. There’s no shortcut for sanctification and there’s no shortcut for letting [00:22:00] the word of God work on your heart. Wesley, thank you for ta taking the time to be on the podcast with us today. is there anything you’d like to share with our listeners as our sponsor on your way out?

Wesley Lewis: Hey, yeah. If there’s a church out there that’s looking for a partner, that’s what we kind of consider ourselves to. Help develop a website, think through strategies and other things like that, that are related to your web presence and online communication. We’ll be glad to talk to you and help you however we can.

and yeah, we’re gonna use a little bit of chat, G p t or AI in the process. Prob probably in our workflow to be able to help you, but I would love to help as many churches out there as we can. And, uh, we love just working with normalized churches and, uh, helping them do more for Jesus.

JimBo Stewart: Thanks Wesley.

Wesley Lewis: Thanks for having me.

AI, artificial, artificial intelligence, Chatgpt, cyberdyne, mark rober, one eighty, reserach, resolution 3, SBC, SBC 23, SBC23, sermon prep, sermonly, terminator, Wesley Lewis

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *