I bought an iPhone 11 Pro Max. Find out how well it works in a minister's life and why a minister might want to consider the upgrade.

A lot of my pastor friends love Apple products. I thought I’d write up a review focused on what the new Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max brings to the table for those of us serving in ministry. Is there anything here to make you want to upgrade or replace another phone running Android? Find out below.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Camera

If you’re like me, you take a lot of photos of your church ministry activities. In addition, I’ve started a YouTube channel focused on my ministry activity as a small church pastor that I call Behind the Pulpit.

And that’s a rifle not a shotgun more informed gun aficionados tell me.

I was really excited to get the new iPhone 11 Pro Max for the camera alone. Here’s what Apple put in this new version…

  • 3 cameras on the Pro Max for an ultra wide 13mm f2.4 lens, regular 26mm f1.8mm lens and a 2x 52mm f2.0 telephotos telephoto lens (see a comparison of 3 shots plus the camera interface above). These camera lenses give three options for focal lengths so you can get shots close up that won’t cut off the edges of the scene while also grabbing a shot of something further away.
iphone 11 pro max camera user interface
  • Smooth zoom between the .5, 1 and 2x lenses with up to 10x zoom, but above the 2X images start to look really bad. See the sccreenshot above.
  • Amazing 4K video with up to 60fps and excellent slow motion video on the front and back cameras. The front camera slow motion they called a “slofie” which the Internet erupted in ridicule over.
  • Night mode that helps you take pictures at night that look like you had a bright flash on your camera.
  • Better portrait mode, which you can use to take photos of people and even objects with the background all blurred out.
  • New shooting modes where you can take a video by holding down the camera button in the camera app while you’re set to take a photo and drag to the right to keep the camera video recording or release to stop. You can also press and drag left to get a burst of many quick shots in a row. See Apple’s support demo video below.
  • Thanks to the 3 cameras you can actually take photos of more than what you see on the screen.
  • Object image stabilization which results in videos without as much shake.

All of the above translates to a great camera. You may not fully understand everything listed above, but head over to Apple’s website to learn more. You can also find out more by watching the video below by one of my favorite YouTubers, Matti Haapoja.

So why should a pastor or minister care about the iPhone 11 Pro camera? First, if you already have an X or Xs, you don’t. This phone doesn’t offer enough to upgrade and I probably shouldn’t have (see my video – the first one on this post above). However, if you have an older phone and think you’re phone’s getting a little long in the tooth, has some problems like a battery that’s no longer getting you through the day or the camera creates ridiculously bad video, then consider it.

We ministers can do a lot to further our ministry by taking photos and videos and sharing them online via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and more. This helps us reach a more plugged-in audience like the younger crowd. If you do this, do it with excellence.

I took a class about using the vlogg format to boost your ministry reach. Trey VanCamp taught the course and inspired me to start my channel. Check out my article about the course on ChurchTechToday.com.

A vlogg shares parts of your day in a kind of “behind-the-scenes” or “reality-TV” format. This helps your church or ministry participants see a different side of your life. It also opens the door for prospective people to learn more about you or your church. Finally, it extends your reach beyond your local region.

In addition to social media, a good website will include a lot of media like video and photos. Shoot both and upload them so people can see what your church is like.

You can also use these photos and videos in your worship services. I took video of my family walking near a local park and used it in my YouTube channel video and showed a clip of it in my worship service as part of a sermon illustration. Why not do the same with the amazing iPhone 11 Pro Max camera?

Faster iPhone 11 Pro Max A13 Bionic Chip Speeds Up Apps

You may not notice the faster processor (the part that works like the brain of your phone). However, it will speed up some things. If you use an app that needs more power, this will help. Most Bible apps don’t, but the Logos/Faithlife Bible apps on iPhone do need more power. Also, encoding video on your phone as you edit in the mobile version of iMovie or LumaFusion, the best video editor on iOS.

Extra Hours of Battery Life for Long Ministry Days

The A13 chip will mostly benefit users by giving them longer battery life. Apple says it lasts about 5 hours longer than the previous generation iPhone Xs Max. In other words, if your previous phone lasted until supper time, this one will take you to bedtime. My phone would get me through the day, but you never know when you might get called away to the emergency room at 9:45 p.m. because a Sunday school teacher had a car accident. With the extra battery life, you won’t need to look for an outlet to charge your phone when you most need it to just work and you need to focus on your church members facing a crisis.

Super Retina XDR Screen Makes Bible Apps Text Easier to Read

You probably use your phone for a lot of reading, including a Bible app, the Amazon Kindle app, checking email or reading websites. Thanks to the awesome new screen, you get better text crispness that’s easier to read. Also, your photos and videos look better. Watching TV as you wait for something to happen looks better on this beautiful screen.

Stronger iPhone 11 Pro Max Glass Survives Bumps and Drops Sort Of

Have you ever dropped your phone? I hope you had a case and even a tempered glass screen protector on it. If you didn’t you probably at least ended up with some scratches or dents.

The new iPhone 11 Pro Max has a tougher body and screen. Apple promises it will break less often during drops of six feet or fewer.

One popular Apple fan girl who goes by the name iJustine dropped her iPhone 11 Pro while testing out the front facing slow motion camera.

In spite of the stronger glass, I still recommend getting a case. Don’t pay for the expensive Apple branded cases. Get one off Amazon for under $20 unless you’re a phone punisher. Then pay extra for a good rugged case like those you get from Amazon.

iphone 11 pro max spigen tough armor case
iPhone 11 Pro Max Spigen Tough Armor Case

iPhone 11 Pro Max is More Water Resistant, They Say

Like drops, water can destroy a phone unless it comes with iP68 certification. That term means that it meets an objective third party standard that says it should survive dropping it into some water that’s up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters (nearly 5 feet).

I’m not going to test the water resistance of my phone. I don’t trust it, but I have accidentally splashed water on it and it works fine.

Sounds Better With or Without Headphones

People who listen to music, videos and more on their phone will want good speakers. I recommend Apple’s own AirPods. I love mine. However, you can listen to the sound right out of the phone. Thanks to Dolby Atmos certification, the speakers should sound better.

Apple also advertised something called Audio Sharing. If you have AirPods you can connect two sets of AirPods (two pairs) to one phone and listen to the same thing at the same time. That’s great for letting people listen to a video of a recent church event. Audio Sharing works in iOS 13 on some older phones too. See how to do this in the video below.

Shoot your video of a worship event, fellowship, or other activity at church. Then head over to a shut-in’s house or the hospital and let the person hear the video, either on the phone or if they also have AirPods on those.

Dual Sim Support for International Mission Trips

Do you travel outside the country for mission trips or other reasons? Maybe you’re a missionary and you want a phone plan for the United States and another country. Apple now supports dual sims. You can actually have two lines on one phone.

Some churches don’t have an office. Maybe you’re a small church pastor or a church planter without a building yet. You can have your church phone number and your home number on the same phone.

Consider Apple Watch Series 5 with WatchOS 6

I already mentioned the AirPods above. There was another new accessory released with the new iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Apple Watch update didn’t add enough for people to upgrade from a Series 3 or 4 Apple Watch. However, if you don’t own one or have one of the first generations, then consider the upgrade.

apple watch always on display versus regular display not dimmed
The screen on left is brighter since it’s fully awake. The screen on the right looks slightly dimmed since it’s in the lower power always-on mode.

I love that now I can actually see the time all the time. That’s right, the previous generations of the watch turned off the screen. You had to lift it and look at it to get it to show up. Sometimes you had to actually wiggle your wrist. That’s unconscionably bad. However, that problem no longer exists. You can glance down at your watch during meetings or a worship service without it being noticeable. See the two images above (left is fully on and the right is dimmed “always-on” low power mode).

Face it! We pastors are often fat! I’m tired of it and so I’ve started to work at losing weight. As of the day I ‘m writing this, I’m down over 80 lbs. in about 3.5 mounts.

The Apple watch offer some nice activity tracking to help you get active and fit. You can track workouts. It reminds you to move every hour on the 50th minute if you haven’t already moved that hour. And you can track how much you walk and how many calories you burn in a day.

For all the reasons above, the iPhone 11 Pro Max offers a nice upgrade for people who own an iPhone 7 or older. iPhone 8 users will even see a nice bump, but people who own an iPhone X or Xs should probably not bother unless you just want to or need to due to problems with your phone.

2 thoughts on “iPhone 11 Pro Max Review for Pastors and Ministers

  1. As cool as the iPhone 11 is, I don’t think it’s worth the cost, pastor or not. Get an iPhone 9 or 10 for like half the price, while getting basically the same exact features and performance.

    1. I mostly agree. Few people who own an iPhone purchased in the last two years should probably upgrade and unless you do a lot of photography and video on your phone you’re right. Get a cheaper version. But for the rare person like me who dies a LOT of camera work on the phone it’s with it.

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