Apple’s new tools can boost your church live streams as well as life balance

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

Every September the internet buzzes with talk about the yearly Apple announcements. Response to the 2018 keynote was no exception.

Understanding technology spec upgrades and next-gen devices while cutting through the hype is confusing. MyCom will be continually vetting the announcements of new technology and providing practical insights into how it can support your church's ministry. 

Whether your church is on the cutting edge of technology or just coming of age in the digital world, Apple's new (and older, more affordable) tools can help you reach beyond your walls as well as communicate more effectively within them.

A phone may be just what you need for your live stream

Whether you’re using YouTube, Facebook Live or only considering whether live streaming your services is right for your church, a high quality camera and microphone are key. But you no longer need a cinema-quality camcorder only a filmmaker understands. To date, at least 12 movies have been shot on the iPhone.

The new iPhones as well as the now more affordable previous generations (iPhone 7 and 8) feature high megapixel cameras that provide clear recording and streaming, even in the low light typical in most church sanctuaries. As in last year’s models, the new iPhones shoot 4K video.

The newest iPhone Xr combines the most advanced features at a lower price. The processor provides advanced noise cancelling to isolate and boost the dominant sound above ambient ones — like the baby crying a few pews back.

A cost‑saving tip: Consider buying the phone without the traditional monthly mobile plan and use your church’s wifi for the stream.

A reminder: Always use a tripod, whether tabletop-size or full-length, to hold the phone while recording or streaming.

Communicate urgent messages discreetly

We’ve all been in a classroom or worship service when someone creeps across the room to pass a slip of paper or whisper an important message to the speaker.  

Wearable devices like the Apple Watch (yes, there’s a new model) can help staff communicate discreetly without bringing a service or class to a halt. A slight wrist vibration as a message arrives alerts you to peek at your watch (or cellphone). It's far less distracting than the stroll-whisper routine.

To make this work, be sure staff and volunteers share mobile numbers.

(Let’s hope you don’t need the health and fall detection features.)

The world is your parish; an operating system can help you spend more time there

A big new feature in Apple’s iOS 12 is Screen Time. The feature allows you to monitor and set controls on how much of your day is spent on your phone — and even in specific apps. It notifies you when you’re near the limit and disables access (don’t worry, you can override it) once you’re over the limit.

John Wesley’s statement that the world was his parish is part of our DNA as United Methodists. God calls us to be present in our communities. It’s become too easy to scroll away the day on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, mistaking that for community.

Using Screen Time can encourage us to live out our core value of being present in our communities and spending more of our time making disciples for the transformation of the world.

Whether you’re looking to stream your services or find life balance through a digital detox, these new tech products and features may be just what you need to accomplish the mission as a church. It’s ironic to think, but there’s now likely an app for that!


Jeremy Steele is the teaching pastor at Christ UMC in Mobile, Alabama, as well as a writer and speaker. You can find a list of all his books, articles and resources for churches, including his most recent book All the Best Questions, at his website: