Darrell Stetler II
What would Artificial Intelligence write about Discipleship?
If you're moderately tech-aware, you probably have heard of ChatGPT. This artificial intelligence bot has been trained on billions of words across the internet, and is able to hold conversations in a way that closely mimics actual humans.
You can ask it a question, or ask it to write something, and it will start generating words.
An AI writes about discipleship in the local church
So I logged in today and asked ChatGPT: "Write a 500 word blog post about the importance of discipleship in the life of a local church."
Immediately, it started spitting out words. My 7 year old was watching over my shoulder at the moment the AI was generating 500 words on discipleship, and said, "Wow, how are you doing that?" I literally copied and pasted the words below:
The importance of discipleship in the local church by ChatGPT
Discipleship is a crucial aspect of the life of a local church. It is the process of helping individuals grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and become more like Him. This growth is not only important for the individual but also for the entire church as it helps to build a strong, unified body of believers.
One of the main reasons discipleship is important is that it helps individuals to understand and apply the teachings of Jesus Christ to their daily lives. Discipleship is not just about learning biblical principles, but also about putting them into practice. Through discipleship, individuals learn how to live a Christ-centered life and how to share their faith with others. This is essential for the growth and maturity of the individual as well as the entire church.
Another important aspect of discipleship is accountability. Discipleship relationships provide individuals with someone they can be accountable to as they strive to live a life that is pleasing to God. This accountability is not only beneficial for the individual but also for the entire church as it helps to keep the body of believers united and on track.
Discipleship also helps to build strong relationships within the church. As individuals grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, they also grow in their relationship with other believers. Discipleship provides opportunities for individuals to share their struggles, victories, and experiences with one another. This helps to build a sense of community and belonging within the church.
Discipleship also helps to equip individuals for ministry. As individuals grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, they become better equipped to serve others and share their faith. Discipleship provides individuals with the tools they need to become effective ambassadors for Christ in their community.
In summary, discipleship is an essential aspect of the life of a local church. It helps individuals to understand and apply the teachings of Jesus Christ to their daily lives, provides accountability, builds strong relationships, and equips individuals for ministry. Without discipleship, the local church would not be able to fulfill its purpose of making disciples of all nations. Therefore, it is vital for the local church to prioritize and invest in discipleship.
A Pastor's Thoughts Vs. An Artificial Intelligence's thoughts on discipleship
So, a few thoughts in response:
1. Just because you can spit out the right info, doesn't mean you're a disciple.
Seriously, haven't we all seen people who could do this? Say the right words, express the right concepts... with not much reality behind it?
2. You can't create disciples through automation.
Only a disciple can create a disciple. This is why NewStart Discipleship focuses on creating a clear path to CONNECTION WITH OTHER DISCIPLES.
I think it takes a disciple to make a disciple.
3. We ought to use all the tools at our disposal to make disciples.
I was tempted to just roll my eyes and say "tech these days" and go on a rant about how it wasn't real, it was just artificial intelligence mimicking discipleship talk.
And... that's pretty much true.
How is an artificial intelligence different than a disciple?
Then I asked myself: "In what ways is this different than true discipleship? And what can I learn from this?"
An artificial intelligence can't grow spiritually, or even understand the realities behind it.
But thinking about how it differs from true discipleship does help clarify some things.
Obviously, this is different in that an AI is not a real person, a creation of personal God. Artificial intelligence doesn't have the image of God, and the salvation of computer code was not bought with the precious blood of Christ.
As a thought experiment, what are the things that are different about discipleship for a real person, like someone from your church or your neighborhood? AI ought to teach us that discipleship isn't just learning the facts, it's something more.
What is that something?
Christian discipleship includes:
Genuine spiritual experience of a New Birth.
Genuine relational connection of a Christian mentor.
Genuine mental reformation through teaching the principles of Scripture.
Genuine character transformation through obeying the commands of Jesus.
If you're interested in how NewStart Discipleship lays out a 2 year spiritual growth track for new believers , you can click the link to find out.
NewStart discipleship is only a strategy for discipleship.
NewStart can't create a New Birth... ...but it can help you have a strategy to capitalize on it.
NewStart can't replace relational connection... ...but it can help you put a framework in place about what to focus on.
NewStart can't create a renewed mind... ...but it can teach the principles of spiritual transformation in a daily, bite-sized format.
NewStart can't create Christian character... ...but it can help teach holy habits to make space for the Holy Spirit's transformation in a new believer.
So do you have a strategy for discipleship that you've thought out deeply enough to know what it is? Or are you just trying to wing it and hope that discipleship will happen accidentally?
ChatGPT can't answer that question for you. You'll have to do it yourself. :)