a visual history of the last
In 2003, Rob Thomas released the first volume of Igniter Videos under the company name Vertical Sky Productions. It contained five short videos specifically created to help illustrate and engage during any church service. By 2005, we had dropped Vertical Sky and fully embraced the name Igniter Media.
In 2003, computer-powered projection was still a novelty in many churches. MediaShout was king; but ProPresenter—arguably today's most popular presentation software in the church market—would debut at a Passion event that October.
When we started out, there weren't many people creating ready-made content for churches, but by 2005, we had enough friends in the field that we decided to create WorshipHouse Media—a distribution platform for church media creators, and a one-stop, downloadable shop for churches looking for media.
A frame from a promo video we did for the launch of the 2.0 version of WorshipHouse.
Things that didn't exist in 2005:
Spotify, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, the original Wii, Google-owned YouTube.
In 2007, we started Collide magazine, which ran for 20 issues over the course of the next 3+ years. It spoke to the growing tribe of church staff and volunteers who saw the value that media, communications, and technology could bring to their churches.
Thumb through some of our favorite covers.
In 2007, the first iPhone was announced, the final Harry Potter book was released, and the creators of Planning Center were working up toward launching the first version of their popular church management tool.
Under the name Echo, we hosted a conference for church-focused artists, geeks, and storytellers. Echo's tenure (2008-2013) hit during a critical time when a creative class of servants was emerging in the church world, who were trying to get their churches up to speed in the rapidly changing worlds of technology, social media/communications, and event production.
Thumb through some of our favorite covers.
In 2008, it was normal for large groups of people to gather in close proximity without giving it a second thought, YouVersion—the insanely popular Bible app—launched the same day as Apple's App Store, and Oprah and Celine Dion cried while watching our video 99 Balloons on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
In early 2012, Igniter acquired Graceway Media—provider of ready-made presentation templates specifically designed for the needs of churches. Although we had a decent amount of overlap with their design product offering, we liked enough of what they were doing and the way they were doing it—specifically the subscription-based model—to want to be a part of it.
A fun video welcoming Graceway under the Igniter umbrella. Back then, our parent company was called RT Creative Group. From 2017 until 2020, our parent company was just Igniter Media. Starting in 2020, it's the Igniter Company.
In 2012, Michael Phelps won his 22nd Olympic gold medal, Marvel's "The Avengers" premiered, the first 4K TVs entered the consumer market, and Chris Tomlin's How Great Is Our God was #1 on CCLI for the year.
2015 began with excitement as we moved into a new building that we'd spent the last couple of years dreaming about—but what was looking to be a promising year quickly faded into a dark season, when our #2 in command confessed to embezzlement.
Our new digs. We've actually spent a good portion of 2020 remodeling to make better use of the space.
In 2015, fewer than 30% of large churches had an "online campus." How much higher will that number be in 2020?
We announced that we'd be merging Igniter and Graceway into one brand in 2017, but it wasn't until we launched our new website in 2018 that it became official. Not only did the new site bring all of our ready-made media under one [digital] roof, it became the first to offer a subscription that included multiple media types from multiple church media creators.
Johnny introduces the all-new Igniter (2018) while Chachi holds his breath.
In 2018, everybody was freaking out about Bitcoin, deepfakes, Facebook privacy issues, Fortnite, and the lyrics to Reckless Love by Cory Asbury.
We still wholeheartedly believe in the value of ready-made media for churches, but we also believe that churches should be creating their own content that speaks directly to their audience. So when the opportunity to add Lightstock—the premiere faith-based, cheesy-free stock media marketplace—to the Igniter lineup of brands, we jumped at the chance.
Lightstock + Igniter
We've loved watching churches respond to a broken and lost world over the past 6 months—and we've loved providing free content of various forms to over 10,000 churches during the course of the pandemic.
There's no denying it's been a really weird year.
But it's in tough times that God's provision, faithfulness, and often His direction gets clearer. We're grateful for what He's led us through the past 17 years, for where He has us today, and for the things He has put on our heart—ready-made media or not—for tomorrow.
©The Igniter Company, 2020. All rights reserved.