I try to limit my time on Facebook as much as possible. In fact, my screen time limit on my phone is set to just 10 minutes. I figure that is more than enough time on the average day. When I decide to use Facebook, I do my best to focus on using it as a productive tool.
One group I belong to is comprised of church leaders and pastors who are implementing AI in their church to help reach their goals. As I have been dipping my feet into the AI pool lately, I love to learn what others are doing and how it may help our mission here at Ability Ministry.
This afternoon I caught a post from Menlo Church, who just implemented an AI chatbot on their website.
Site visitors could ask this chatbot anything as it was ready to reply with “service times, faith-related questions, etc. And it will respond with information from the website or snippets from their library of 700+ YouTube videos.” Impressive sounding, right?
I hate to admit this, but I was instantly skeptical. I knew nothing of this church, what services they offer, etc. I immediately went to their website and was prepared to be disappointed by asking it about disability-related services. Then I would take that information back to the Facebook group, and share how great the chatbot is, but that they were excluding the world’s largest unreached people group: those affected by disability. I was even planning on arming myself with census data.
Once on the website, I asked it “Do you have anything for those with disabilities?”
The reply is worth sharing:
Absolutely! We believe in the full inclusion of all individuals, regardless of their abilities. We offer several options for adults with disabilities:
- Disability and Inclusion Ministry: We provide support for individuals with disabilities and anyone who needs additional accommodations to fully participate in the life of the church. We work with you to identify and implement specific supports.
- Integrated Life Groups: These are small communities of individuals with disabilities or those who need additional accommodations. Life Groups are vital for everyone’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
- Minds of All Kinds Game Night: Every 3rd Saturday of the month, we host a game night that promotes a safe space for friendly social connection.
- Support Groups: We offer a safe and caring community that welcomes those who are hurting. Support and Recovery Groups help you experience emotional healing, learn self-awareness, and grow in your relationship with Jesus.
- Mental Health and Addiction Resources: If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues or addiction, we are available to pray with you and provide coping and support resources.
Remember, we are all created in God’s image, and He desires wholeness for all of His creation. We would love to have you join us and experience the love and support we have to offer.
We believe in the full inclusion of all individuals. I was just blown away. I couldn’t wait to get back on Facebook and tell them how awesome this was. The author of the Facebook post, Joe, replied to me with this:
“The response is only as good as the content. And Menlo Church has some fantastic content and resources – particularly around mental health, disabilities, and inclusion.”
Those who are more knowledgeable about AI can correct me if I am misstating anything here, but the data that AI gives you is based on the data that it has available to it. Joe’s reply that the response is only as good as the content couldn’t be more true. Their claim to follow the teachings of Jesus and include all people is only as good as what they are actually doing in their church. The chatbot could not give a reply like it did without that church leadership making inclusion a priority and embedding it in the fabric of their church.
More about Menlo Chruch’s disability and inclusion ministry can be found here: https://menlo.church/disability-and-inclusion