A.I. Providing Bibles in North Korea?

A church planter sat down and had a conversation with a ‘robot’ about church planting and the result was a full plan, by AI, to plant a church.

So, if AI can help plant a church, can it help complete the Great Commission?

That is what I wanted to find out.

Brian Beauford, an American church planter, was in Cleveland, Ohio for a conference where he was encouraged to converse with Claude.ai – a type of artificial intelligence program. Claude is less like a Google search and more of an intelligence generator with its own vocabulary and thought process.

“One night, while being bored in Cleveland, I started talking to Claude about Church Planting,” Brian said. “One thing led to another and 2 hours later I was shocked at what was developing.”

According to Brian, by the end of conversation, the robot, Claude.ai, created a plan for church planting.

  • Church Name: South Shore Community church
  • Church Plant Launch Plan
  • Core Values
  • 15 Month Timeline
  • Budgets, 1 year and 3 year
  • 5 Phased Fundraising Campaign
  • Leadership development
  • Systems
  • Small Group Model
  • Online Outreach Framework
  • 30 Online outreach ideas that lead to online groups and Sermon Series’
  • 15 Page Church Plant Prospectus
  • 12 Month Church Plant Residency that includes field projects, reading lists and cohort discussions
  • Resource list for future Church Planters

After looking at Claude.ai’s church planting abilities, I looked into what Claude would think of preaching the Gospel in unreached nations. If Claude.ai could help plant churches in America, could it also help get the Bible into closed countries?

Imagine if artificial intelligence could help the Chinese underground house church plan and strategize in a new way to complete the Great Commission!

So, I went to the website and signed on. I started a few conversations about preaching the Gospel in unreached areas, but the topic was too vague, so I got more specific.

I asked the question, “How can I share a Bible in North Korea?”

The response I got was less impressive than it gave for planting a church in America.

“As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, distributing religious materials, including the Bible, in North Korea is strictly controlled and often prohibited. The North Korean government practices state atheism and restricts the practice of religion, considering it a threat to the regime’s ideology and control over the population. Possessing or distributing religious materials, including the Bible, can lead to severe punishment, including imprisonment or even execution.”

I was hoping for a plan, an outline, a budget, or a small group model like Brian got. Instead, it got information that I already knew.

On top of that, I was then told, “If you are interested in providing religious support to North Koreans, it’s important to do thorough research and engage with organizations that have experience.”

What? Who has more experience smuggling Bibles into North Korea than the Chinese? Was AI really telling me to have a conversation with Back to Jerusalem?

Maybe I was pushing too hard, so I asked another question, “What would be a good way to share about Jesus in Iran?”

Iran is one of the most unreached nations on earth. Completing the Great Commission is going to need evangelism efforts in Iran.

The answer was perhaps just as ambiguous. “Religious minorities, including Christians, often face restrictions and limitations on their religious practices and expressions. Conversion from Islam to Christianity is not officially recognized and can result in legal and societal pressures. The government closely monitors religious activities, and open proselytizing is prohibited.”

So, that seemed like a dead end road too.

Perhaps I have been asking the wrong questions.

I changed the approach a little and asked for a specific plan to conduct Christian missions in Yemen.

This was the plan that I got. The results were a little more promising than I had received before. Here is the 12-step program it suggested:

  1. Research and Understanding: Conduct thorough research about Yemen’s culture, history, religion, and current political situation.
  2. Engage Local Partners: Collaborate with established local NGOs, humanitarian organizations, or interfaith groups that are working in Yemen.
  3. Humanitarian Aid Focus: Frame the mission around providing humanitarian aid and support to Yemeni communities.
  4. Interfaith and Cultural Sensitivity: Emphasize interfaith dialogue and cultural sensitivity. Instead of direct evangelism, focus on fostering mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation between different faith communities. Engage in conversations about shared values and common humanitarian goals.
  5. Healthcare and Education Initiatives: Develop healthcare and education programs that benefit the local population. These initiatives can address pressing needs and demonstrate your commitment to improving the lives of Yemeni people.
  6. Community Engagement: Organize events, workshops, and gatherings that focus on topics of mutual interest, such as community development, health, and education.
  7. Local Staff and Volunteers: If possible, employ local staff and volunteers who are familiar with the cultural dynamics and language.
  8. Security Precautions: Prioritize the safety and security of the mission team.
  9. Cultural Exchange and Learning: Approach the mission as a learning experience for both sides.
  10. Long-Term Perspective: Plan for a long-term engagement rather than short-term visits. Building relationships and making a positive impact takes time and consistency.
  11. Ethical Considerations: Ensure that all activities respect local laws, customs, and religious beliefs. Avoid any activities that might be seen as disrespectful or invasive.
  12. Evaluation and Adaptation: Continuously assess the impact of your efforts and adjust the mission plan as needed based on feedback from local partners and communities.

This 12-step plan was then followed with the advice, “Undertaking Christian missions in Yemen requires careful planning and consideration due to the country’s religious and cultural context, as well as its current political and security situation. Yemen is a predominantly Muslim country, and proselytizing activities can be met with suspicion or resistance.”

To weaken the position even further, the AI program reminded me, “Remember that the primary focus of your mission should be on humanitarian aid, mutual understanding, and cultural exchange. Strive to create an environment of respect and collaboration that benefits the Yemeni people and promotes harmony among different faiths.”

After evaluating AI’s advice for Yemen, it seems to have given a 12-step program to basically share about Islam while handing out free aid.

In the end, it seems that AI might have answers for church planting, but has a long way to go to complete the Great Commission in unreached nations.


3 thoughts on “A.I. Providing Bibles in North Korea?”

  1. It’s interesting to hear about Brian Beauford’s experience using an AI program named Claude.ai to discuss church planting and the surprising results that emerged from their conversation. While AI can provide valuable insights and generate ideas, it’s important to remember that it’s a tool created by humans and relies on the data and programming it has been trained on.

  2. AI can only draw from information it was previously fed, or has harvested from the internet. so, you cannot expect from it anything really new which has not been expressed somewhere by someone before.
    And additionally, if you share your mission plans with an AI, the AI will likely share your information with the government of the country where you intend to work.

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