I believe the Pre-Service Countdown can be one of the most underused pieces of real estate in your Worship Experience.
Countdowns are a good way to welcome people to your Physical or Online Worship Experience to let them know when the service will begin, but you can also use the Countdown to present fun material as well as information to your congregation.
In this article, I’ll share a few tips for Countdowns and walk through a few ways that you can utilize this element in your Worship Experience for more impact.
Tips for Countdowns
1. FIVE MINUTES IS A GOOD LENGTH FOR YOUR COUNTDOWN
This length gives folks enough time to get to their seat or settle in at home if they are watching online.
2. YOUR COUNTDOWN SHOULD BE SERIES BRANDED
The Countdown, along with your Sermon Bumper, and any Lower Thirds during the Sermon should be branded to the Series you are in. Having the Countdown branded allows you to set the stage or ‘prime the pump’ for the message that will be delivered.
Here are a couple of examples of Countdowns our team has produced that are branded to a Series.
3. THINK THROUGH USING THIS TIME STRATEGICALLY
It doesn’t just have to be a straight countdown on screen, you can use it to share information or start stirring interest in the topic or message of the day.
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Some ideas for how to enhance your Countdown Timer Videos
While you put your Countdown Timer numbers in the lower portion of your screen, you can use the bulk of the screen for other material. Here are some ideas to get your mind going.
You could share Trivia that sets up your message and gets your congregation thinking about the topic of the day.
Here are some examples:
– God at the Movies Series: Movie trivia or a “Who Said That?”
– Church Identity Series: B-Roll of your church with fun trivia about your church history
– Series on a Bible Character: trivia about the character’s life
STATS or DID YOU KNOW?
You could share Stats or “Did You Know?” type information.
– Series on Relationships: Stats about Relationships, Marriage, Divorce, Family
– Series called Grow: Footage of slow motion plant growing with stats about plant growth that can be a teaser for your message. The countdown is an element that can raise questions when people see it at first. They might ask, “Why the plant growing video during the Countdown?” – that’s okay. Let that mystery hand in the air and let your congregation connect the dots when you share your Sermon.”
– Teaching on a specific Book of the Bible: Contextual/Cultural Information about the book you’re studying
You could share Quotes from other people to back up your message.
– Quotes from authors or leaders about the topic of your day.
– Quotes from the Biblical character you are studying in your series.
– Testimonial quotes from people in your church or community who have been impacted from a ministry in your church.
TALKING HEAD MOMENTS
A “Talking Head” is an industry term for a person on-screen talking. In your Countdowns, you could take this moment to have someone share information to your congregation.
– Greeting from a Pastor welcoming folks to your church.
– Short Clip from a staff member explaining a new ministry your church is starting or involved with.
– Short Clip from a volunteer leader celebrating what God did at your latest event or community outreach.
A little different than a “Talking Head Moment” in that this might not be a pastor on staff and might be more produced and longer in length.
You could use the Countdown to produce or even reuse Promotional Videos you have made for your Church. Full confession here: the Countdown is a great place to get “more legs out of” videos your Church has previously produced. Whether it be a Trailer for your next Series, Promotional or Highlight Videos from an Event or Conference, the Countdown is a place where these can be played again and be more forgivable to repeat than in another part of your Service Flow.
The Countdown is a good place for a Youth Camp promo, Men’s Conference promo, or maybe events you don’t want to spend a lot of time on inside your service. You can give it some play without taking valuable time in your experience.
There are times when just ‘numbers’ on screen work well.
But you might consider using your Countdown space for other things than just ’numbers’. Utilize that real estate for greater impact.
Carl Barnhill has served on staff at some of the largest churches and organizations in the country. He served as Media Director at Precept Ministries International, directing the television and radio program Precepts for Life with Kay Arthur, broadcasted to over 98 million homes around the world. He served as Video Production Director at Pinelake Church in Brandon, MS. He most recently served as Video Coordinator for Newspring Church in South Carolina. He currently serves as Creative Director and Owner of[twelve:thirty]media, serving churches and ministries all over the world through motion graphics content and church media coaching.