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This topic is explaining and exploring how some of the new "Artificial Intelligence" apps might be used by Sunday School students to create and share their thoughts, responses, and reflections on lesson content -- and generate shareable content.

Your examples, experience, and thoughtful insights are welcome.

Students using AI to create "Computer Generated Art"

In March 2023, Microsoft Bing released their test version of BING IMAGE CREATOR, a free browser-based way to generate artistic images merely through the use of KEYWORDS. It uses the DALL-E image generator engine, the first of its kind. It was developed by OpenAI, a nonprofit research lab.

It uses artificial intelligence (software that can learn and create) to create various original images with effects based on the keywords and style of art you have told it to use.

It's really FUN to use, the results are often surprising, and I could immediately sense its use in Sunday School lessons where kids are asked to reflect or imagine. (More about that in a moment.)

In this example, I simply typed "boy thinking about God in style of Van Gogh" and here's what the computer generated.

David and Goliath in the style of Minions

Goliath in the style of Picasso

The images can be copied and downloaded or shared across the web. You can continue to refine your keywords, or simply keep re-entering the same keywords to see new images. Some keywords are currently not allowed to be used. "Jesus" for example will return an "under review" remark.

Bing's How to Use Image Creator (really so simple you don't need to read it).


At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gave the disciples the gift of being understood in the language of the HEARER. Any tool that can help kids enjoy, connect with, and reflect on the Word is a tool worth exploring.

And NO...
I'm not suggesting we replace art projects. I'm a Rotation Model enthusiast and we believe in using MANY different mediums to teach Bible stories. Many Rotation Model Sunday Schools have a classroom that uses technology to help teach. Teaching a lesson where kids create their AI generated content is just another tool, albeit, fun one, in our teaching toolbox.

"Mountains fingerpaint"

"Elijah on Mt Carmel fingerpainting"

"Fire, Elijah, Prophets of Baal, Mt Carmel, Fingerpainting"

How does Bing Image Creator (DALL-E) work?

The software was trained by showing it millions of images from the internet that have descriptive keywords so that it knows what a "mountain" looks like, for example and be able to draw something similar. The software engine was also trained to recognize and draw in the style and colors of words like "fingerpainting" and most other major styles. It then combines the two results into a number of possibilities which it shows you. As you can keep refining your keywords it will produce new results. The software is not using anyone's actual images, it is creating anew. As the engine softare evolves the results will get better.


OpenAI, the developers of Bing's Image Creator, have created rules to filter out what it considers inappropriate content. Some keywords get "flagged for review" and if approved, may not appear in your browser for several minutes. Interestingly, "Jesus" gets a review flag. "God" does not.


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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Students using Microsoft Bing's "AI CHAT" (ChatGPT) to Generate Written Content that they then DISCUSS

It's always been a Holy Grail in Sunday School to get kids to WRITE their thoughts and discuss them. Computers make it interesting and fun. "Let's Talk," one of the software programs I developed for Sunday School (available as a free download here), uses the "text to speech" or "speech engine" built into most computers so that kids can make their computers talk. It's a fun way to get them to share and reflect, and even ask each other questions or create computer-spoken prayers through the use of tech.

Here in 2023, computer-generated articles and "AI Chat" are making the news. This year anyway, it is commonly known by the name of one of its most popular apps, "ChatGPT," which was created by an open source consortium. Computers creating responses is nothing that new. Alexa and Siri have been doing it for years. The difference here is that the kids can ask "AI Chat bots" to generate written content based on their keyword choices.

ChatGPT is "a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with the chatbot. The language model can answer questions and assist you with tasks like composing emails, essays, and code."

Tools like ChatGPT go a step further than Siri and Alexa in that they can generate content you can print or discuss.

You can download ChatGPT, or simply use the version of it built into Microsoft Edge (the "Bing" browser). Below are some examples of how it appears, works, and what it generates.

Why we should care about AI:
Computers have been getting better at mimicking human speech, but now they can even mimic human writing, including the ability to write papers and articles. There are lots of "ain't it awful" cautionary tales on the web about that right now. But keep in mind that "AI" also means lots of good things, like better traffic control and airline safety.

As a Christian educator and software developer, I've been playing with pieces of this student-generated-content puzzle for YEARS. See my Let's Talk software where kids type and create a character to speak it, or the "Fluffimation" mad-lib-like spoken activities in Fluffy and God's Amazing Christmas Adventure software, or in my Cal and Marty Scripture Memory Game software that features humorous talking heads of Luther and Calvin. These programs are now free to the supporters of!

Why I'm interested in such things for Sunday School?
Because the tool is so fascinating, it's a natural "hook" to get kids to both generate thoughts and DISCUSS whether that AI-generated content is good, or misleading, or missing something (for example). Frankly, if I didn't need "hooks" to get kids interested, I'd be fine having them hold forth in a circle of folding chairs every Sunday morning -- but that's not the world most of us live in, so we look for ways to ENGAGE THEM.

Below are two examples of how Bing's version of Chat GPT (computer-generated content, aka "A.I.") works in your browser, and how the fascinating content it produced.

1. I asked Bing AI "Compose" to write me a short article about "how to go to church," and this is the pretty darn good and discussable result it created:

How to Go to Church
Written by A.I.

1. Find a church near you. You can use Bing Maps to search for churches in your area. Just type "church" in the search box and hit enter.

2. Choose a church that suits your preferences. You might want to consider the denomination, the style of worship, the size of the congregation, and the dress code of the church. You can also check their website or social media pages for more information.

3. Prepare yourself for the service. You might want to dress appropriately, bring a Bible, and some money for the offering. You can also pray and meditate before you go to church to get yourself in the right mood.

4. Go to church on time. You don't want to miss the opening song, the sermon, or the communion. You also don't want to disturb other people who are already there. Try to arrive at least 10 minutes before the service starts.

5. Enjoy the service and fellowship with other believers. You can sing along, listen attentively, participate in the activities, and greet other people. You can also stay after the service for some coffee and snacks. You might make some new friends or learn something new.

That's it! You have successfully gone to church. Congratulations! 🎉

--generated by Bing Compose AI

Here are screenshots of the simple Bing Chat interface built into my Microsoft Edge browser. I clicked the "Bing" on my Edge browser, selected "Compose" and asked it a question. ("Compose" is Bing's version of ChatGPT.) Twenty seconds later, Bing Compose gave me a pretty good article! ...and one that a good teacher could discuss the +/- about with their kids.



When I asked Bing Chat Compose "How do I pray?" it generated this short article -- which is as good a "prayer primer" as you can find most places:

How to Pray
by A.I.

Praying is a personal and spiritual practice that can help you connect with a higher power or your own inner wisdom. There is no one right way to pray, but some general steps you can follow are:

- Find a quiet and comfortable place where you can be alone or with others who share your faith.

- Decide what you want to pray for or about. You can express gratitude, ask for guidance, seek forgiveness, or simply talk to God or your chosen deity.

- Choose a posture that feels natural and respectful to you. You can kneel, sit, stand, or lie down. You can also close your eyes, fold your hands, or raise your arms.

- Speak or think your prayer in your own words or use a pre-written prayer from your religion or tradition. You can also sing, chant, or meditate if that helps you focus.

- Listen for any response or feeling that comes to you during or after your prayer. You may hear a voice, see a sign, or sense a peace in your heart.

- End your prayer with a word or phrase that shows your respect and gratitude, such as "Amen", "So be it", or "Thank you".

As a teacher, I might have my students ask that question and then compare it to Jesus' response in Matthew 6:9-13. I might ask them if they've "listened" or "felt" a response as the AI-generated guide suggests you do.

The possibilities seem endless and fascinating, and whether "by Paul or AI-pollos" I care not.

Neil MacQueen is a Presbyterian minister specializing in Christian education and technology. He is currently's webmaster and Lead Writer. He is the former CEO of Sunday Software, producer of Bible 18 software programs for children, and has taught with software and computers in Sunday School since the early 1990s. This article was not A.I. generated.

#AIChurch #ChatGPT #Kidmin #ChildrensMinistry #ImageCreator #AISundaySchool


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Example of Using AI Generated Images in a Bible Study with Kids

What was Goliath really like?
Was he a bully or was he perhaps also bullied?
Did he regret his life? What were his options?
What does a person feel inside when they spout nasty words and threats?
What might God have been trying to whisper to him?

Here's what Bing's Image AI came up with when I entered, "Goliath the Thinker in the Style of Rodin. What other keywords could the kids come up with that might generate something as visually profound?


What would Goliath pray for?

"Goliath praying in the style of Michelangelo"

Working with older kids and youth (and even adults), I'd have them break out the THOUGHT BUBBLES for their creations.


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Interesting stuff!

I did a different kind of experiment with the Bing AI chat to see what kind of Sunday school lesson it could write for me -- one that hopefully had some engagement and creativity.

In brief, here were my results:

  • When I asked it to "write me a lesson about David and Goliath for elementary age kids," it did just "okay." See details below.

  • But when I asked it for creative ideas for teaching the Good Samaritan to kids, it did much better. It made me a list of a variety of ideas that Bing AI had found around the web. This looks somewhat promising if you want the kind of ideas found in print and on websites, or want to list a bunch of ideas quickly. See the result details below.

Result Details:

My first request was for an art lesson to help elementary aged students reflect on the story of David and Goliath. Screenshot of results: (click on image to enlarge)


It had good suggestions for retelling/remembering the Bible story, but not much in the way of life application reflection. Also, the response includes a number of links to websites for their lessons, which looks like BING AI is like a search engine that speaks in whole sentences.

Second try. I asked, "What is a creative way to teach children the Parable of the Good Samaritan?" Here's what it came back with:

There are many creative ways to teach children the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Here are some ideas that you might find helpful:

Get Them Curious – Sort M&Ms by Color: Have kids wash their hands and be seated. Give each child some M&Ms in a plate. Ask them to sort them by color. Then ask them to sort them again by size. Finally, ask them to sort them by shape. Explain that just like we can sort M&Ms in different ways, we can also sort people based on different things like their race, religion, or social status. But Jesus wants us to love everyone no matter how different they are from us.

Screen Time – The Good Samaritan by Crossroads Kids’ Club: Watch this animated video with your kids and discuss what they learned from it.

Make it Stick – Going Bananas: Peel a banana and cut it into small pieces. Give each child a toothpick and ask them to pick up a piece of banana with it. Then ask them to pick up another piece but this time with their other hand behind their back. Finally, ask them to pick up another piece but this time with their eyes closed. Explain that just like it was hard for them to pick up the banana with one hand behind their back or with their eyes closed, it can be hard for us to help others sometimes because we are afraid or don’t know how to do it. But Jesus wants us to help others even if it’s hard.

Dig Deeper – Play Bible Charades for Kids: Write down some scenes from the Parable of the Good Samaritan on small pieces of paper and put them in a bowl. Ask each child to pick one piece of paper and act out the scene without talking while others guess what scene it is.

Walk the Talk – Make The Good Samaritan Pop-up Cards: Print out this template and follow these instructions to make pop-up cards with your kids while discussing the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

I hope these ideas help you teach children about the Parable of the Good Samaritan in a fun and engaging way! Let me know if you have any other questions or if there’s anything else I can help you with.

Again, some meh suggestions from a point of view, with links to children's ministry sites. I think our Writing Team Intelligence-powered lessons for teaching the Parable of the Good Samaritan are MUCH more creative. We won't be firing our volunteer writers anytime soon!

My conclusion based on the two examples above and some other questions to Bing with similar results: AI is not yet ready to write engaging creative Sunday school lessons but could be used as a kind of search engine to pull together decent ideas quickly.

As Neil demonstrates in his posts, AI can give your kids (or you) a tool to generate "new" artwork with some unusual themes and subjects that can be interesting starting points for discussion and reflection with your students.


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AI writing a Sunday School lesson. Why am I kind of glad THAT didn't work out!

Doesn't surprise me, however, as the AI is learning from what's online, and 90% of that is mundane at best.

But... imagine a STUDENT in your Micah 6:8 class asking the Chatbot these questions:

  • What are some ways I can be kind?
  • What are some ways I can be humble?

When I asked that question in Bing's Chatbot with the "funny" tone on, it returned this result:

What are some ways to be humble? Well, you could start by not asking such a question on a chat mode of a search engine. That's like asking a Ferrari to teach you how to drive slowly. You could also try to compliment others more often, and not just yourself. And maybe, just maybe, you could admit that you don't know everything and that sometimes you need help. But hey, who am I to judge? I'm just a humble chat mode of Bing.

Students will get different results to share. Then after discussing the results with the class and making a few points, students could ask AI Image Creator tool to show them "being humble in the style of Marvel Comics" (or their favorite cartoon) and sharing THOSE results.

Here's one result of what Bing's A.I. Image Creator think "humble" looks like "in the style of Marvel." I would ask the kids why the AI thinks folded hands is a sign of humility (and what hand positions/body language does not signal a humble spirit).

Of course, the results are always original and somewhat unpredictable, which to me adds the element of surprise which is often an exciting way to learn.

So many possibilities.


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An analogy of what students are doing when they create AI images of Bible scenes

I've been thinking about a comparison between having kids generate AI images in a Bible study to something we already do in Sunday School. One good comparison is when we ask kids to "caption" their artwork or photos and "explain" what their image is about. Creating AI generated images REVERSES that way of teaching by asking the kids to CREATE A CAPTION FIRST.

Of course, that caption needs to be loaded with pertinent keywords from the story, or verse, or scene in order for the AI to create good results. Discussion about which keywords the student might use can include looking at key verses, summarizing scenes, and thinking about their meaning. This would happen before creating the image, as a review after the image is created, and as a way to help them refine their thoughts/keywords to make a "better" image.

The choice of artistic"style" can be interesting too. I might ask, "what's the best art style to depict Goliath?" He was kind of a villainous superhero. Or how about the Elijah talking to God? It happens in a cave but what does the presence of God feel like? Sculpture? Impressionist? Fingerpaint?  It's all discussion fodder, and it would help to have a list of styles in mind ahead of time to help the kids. "Fingerpainting" btw, looks a lot like impressionist art in many of my results

Because the results can vary and they can do it again and again, this learning activity also gives them a fun way to come up with better keywords. And any learning that feels like "play" is teaching gold.

The possibilities are endless, of course, which could create endless creative results and discussion opportunities. For example, when I typed "Elijah talking to God in a Cave" (I Kings 19), it showed an "person" for God, which isn't a great result and would be something to talk to the kids about. When I substituted the word "heaven" to see what would happen I got a much better result.


P.S. Elijah stories are some of my favorites. So favorite, in fact, that I developed a terrific piece of storytelling software for kids titled "Elijah & Jonah" that was the first interactive comic book ever made! That program is now free to the Supporting Members of Below is a screenshot from a narrated, animated, and interactive screen from part of the Elijah and Jonah software.


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Update on Using AI Image Creator in Christian Education

I recently posted an article about the "stones" we need to throw at some of our "giant" problems in Sunday School. Read "Crossing the Valley of Elah" here.

To illustrate that article I used Bing's AI Image Creator -- and it once again did not disappoint.


Current AI image tech tends to have problems correctly rendering human faces and features, such as fingers. The occasional odd results isn't always a problem, but for the purposes of my article, I cleaned up my AI-generated images in Photoshop. If your kids wanted to do that and were working on a tablet, they could use a free "paint" app, or Windows' Paint app.


In this AI generated image of David's harp looking over the Valley of Elah, I replaced the giant with a white cloud. (See the end of the article for why I put a harp in the Valley!)


After I wrote the article, I started thinking about "other giants" that David faced. King Saul was certainly one of his giant problems. David's massive moral lapse with Bathsheba was another.

Here's one of the images Bing AI Creator came up with when I used the keywords: "Giant King Saul, Little David in the Valley of Elah."  Certainly makes an interesting point.


Then I thought to myself... what did David DO to try and change Saul's heart?

Rather than "killing" the giant, how can we HELP the person who has a giant problem?


It's the process, decisions, and conversation about creating the image, and the various results it produces, that SOLIDIFY the teaching point in the hearts and memories of our students, and give them something tangible to share and explain to others (which is learning gold).

In other words, it is teaching with art.


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Notes for Teachers Worried about Students turning in A.I. - generated "papers and reports"

This post is NOT for Sunday School teachers. Our kids don't write papers. Rather, it's for the public school or college teacher who has found this forum via search and is worried about their students writing papers using "A.I." such as Chat GPT.

What prompted me to post this was an email I received from "Mark," an assistant professor at a college in Texas. Mark found this topic via Google Search and was upset that I had suggested using A.I. at all. "It's hurting students, not helping them!" he wrote. I told him that I don't pretend to know everything about the issue of A.I.-generated papers and know it is a concern, but my first inclination is not to reject something because it is new and challenging to "the way we've always done it."

Recently around the barbecue, I asked a friend about "Mark's" emailed concerns. My friend, who is a professor at a Big Ten university, confirmed that they too were "concerned" with students writing papers with A.I., Chat GPT, and papers that began with drafts written by A.I.  To date, however, he said it wasn't a big problem, but the faculty was discussing how they can better identify when a paper has A.I.-generated content, and what the future holds as A.I. gets better.

My friend was intrigued by my suggestion that teachers invite his students to submit A.I. generated papers -- along with their own commentary ON how good the A.I. version was. In fact, he quipped, "I can always count on you for a different perspective," to which I replied, "That's what being a Sunday School teacher does to you!"

My suggestions to my professor friend (and to Mark) were very similar to the idea I suggested in the "How to Pray" example above.  Here's some more detail...

Chat GPT and other similar A.I. content creators are not very good at "analyzing" and arguing their own content.  So rather than try to detect A.I.-generated content, invite students to create A.I.-generated content on a specific subject, and then have them also CRITIQUE the A.I. results in their own side-by-side commentary. Their analysis could be along the lines of what could be said better, what's wrong,  missing facts, research and points of view that were left out, important details that need more information or highlighting, etc. Their commentary should also "fact-check" A.I.'s work (wrong facts are often how you spot A.I.-generated content).

My friend said, "You mean 'grade' their own paper?" Yes, so to speak -- especially if by "grade" you mean the kind good teachers do when they write extended replies in the margins.

We didn't solve his faculty's concerns, but it gave him a lot to think about, and I hope this posting does the same for those who find it.

If you have comments or suggestions on this topic not related to Sunday School, you can email me at

To reiterate this topic's main point:
In a creative Sunday School, we WANT students to use different mediums to create shareable and discussable content, and we're not worried about plagiarism or papers. If using Chat GPT gets them excited to do that, then it's a tool we can use.


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Generating Imaginative Ideas for Art Painting Projects with A.I. Image Creator

Students use Bing's free Artificial Intelligence Image Creator to GENERATE IDEAS for their own painting that interprets/reflects on a Bible story.

After generating and discussing various ideas, the students then paint their own version of the scene onto their canvases and share them with the class.

Use "glow in the dark" paints so that it glows in their bedroom when the lights are turned off.

I am teaching a lesson about the Empty Tomb being a sign of God's Love to all. So we did some image designing using A.I. Image Creator online (it's free!).

We played with the keywords in the Image Creator application to generate many different images which gave us a lot of possible ideas for our own creation.

Here is one of the images A.I. Image Creator came up by putting in the keywords, "looking at the empty tomb shaped like a heart."  The classroom discussion around "which words" might produce certain ideas is key to the lesson.

The Empty Tomb Shaped Like a Heart


The A.I. generated image stirs the students' creative thoughts, and they then paint the concept for display at home using glow in the dark paints.

Heart Shaped Stone at the Empty Tomb


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