Church Video Ideas: Can Countdowns Be Used in Adult Worship?

Orginally published on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 6:18 PM
by Greg Atkinson

One of my joys is speaking on the subjects of media and communication at conferences across the country. In my class entitled “Resources for Media Ministry”, I show the various forms of media resources available to the Church. For years I’ve always kind of rushed through countdowns, feeling that most people had no use for or interest in them. They were great for the youth ministry on Wednesday night, but people thought they were not appropriate for Sunday morning worship. In the last year and especially the last 6 months, I’ve seen a shift in this area. I’ve seen a shift for two reasons...

Church leaders are more open to the idea of using countdowns pre-service and media companies are producing more reverent and worshipful countdowns. I’ve, personally, asked media companies to come out with more worshipful countdowns that help set the mood for corporate worship and are generally more reflective in nature. For the companies that have answered the call, I want to thank them and recognize them. Here are a few examples of companies that offer more reflective and worshipful countdowns: eleven72, Flashlight Films, Igniter Media Group and Worship Films. These companies have created some very useful countdowns (which I applaud them for) and encourage you to check out. 

So, to answer the question that my article title begs, “Can countdowns be used in adult worship?” I would say, “Yes. It really depends on each individual church.” Some churches are not trying to create a solemn or reflective mood. They may want an upbeat/celebratory atmosphere and are open to countdowns that would normally fall in more of a youth-oriented category. For churches that would like something more reflective and worshipful to prepare hearts for worship (which seems to be the majority of churches), I hope the news of the above mentioned companies would be helpful and allow you to utilize the tool of the countdown (they really can be quite effective for getting people in their seats and creating anticipation) in your corporate worship experience.

©2007 – Greg Atkinson (www.churchvideoideas.com)

Used by permission from author. All rights reserved by author.

Greg Atkinson lives in Dallas with his wife and their three small children. Greg served previously as the Director of WorshipHouse Media, after having served as a worship pastor for 11 years. Greg is now the Technical Arts Director at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship and continues to consult, teach and write about worship, media and creative communication. You can connect with him through his daily blog, Church Video Ideas, his podcast, Creative Synergy, or his email:

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  There are 5 Comments:

  • Posted by

    The one thing I don’t like about countdowns…

    They tend to, imho, foster the whole “consumer-driven” church as “an event I attend” rather than “something I am part of and represent to the world.”

    I love ‘em for youth gatherings and stuff, but only if you’re counting down to something cool. Otherwise, you’re building up hype for something that people soon figure out isn’t worth the hype.

  • Posted by Samuel Sutter

    what I would love to see is a way of doing a countdown with the time counting down with our own church announcements for the background. that would on one hand keep people looking at the time change, and be a way of talking about upcoming events… is there a way of doing that?

  • Posted by Don

    We use countdowns every weekend for our worship services.  It lets people know that things are about to begin and to come in from the lobby and get ready.  People miss them when we don’t do them on occasion.

  • Posted by David Cox

    We use countdowns each week.  We customize them per series with our own graphics and logos.  For us, it mainly gets the worship team in place and starting on time.  I tend to lean more toward the side of energetic countdowns (since when did reverent = worshipful)...anyway, the countdown, many times for us, is the first taste of church for folks that visit us (we have around 20 or so first time visitor cards filled out each week...most of which are totally unchurched people.  We try to strike a balance between “reverent” and edgy depending on the atmosphere we are trying to create.  Neither is better than the other, it really comes down to the church and most of all how you are being relevant to the culture that God has placed you in.  Methods change, but the Message always stays the same…

  • Posted by

    We’ve used countdowns every week for a year to let everyone know the service is about to start. They’re played on screens in the Worship and Welcome Centers. They vary quite a bit as to content and feel and may be custom produced or from outside resources. We usually start off our service fairly upbeat so I don’t feel the countdown detracts from a worshipful feel. Many times the praise band comes out and starts playing an instrumental piece during the last 2 minutes or so.

    I don’t know that they’re particularly effective in getting people in from the lobby because I still have people saying to me “What countdown?” It’s amazing how quickly the room fills up during that first praise song.

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