Nonprofit Software

Finding The Right WordPress Theme For Your Church

It was 2011.

I had just gotten married to my beautiful bride and was looking for a full time, salaried position to begin our new life together.  We had graduated from college a few months before and were starry eyed in love and with hope about the future.  As luck would have it, I found a position at the church we attended as their only web person-guy.  I’m pretty sure that was my title to begin with.

When I started, they had around a dozen WordPress sites running several free themes and one highly custom child theme (but not running as a child theme) of Twenty Eleven.

Fast forward 3 years.

I had grown in both knowledge and skill by leaps and bounds thanks to a situation that forced me to and a boss who nurtured growth and innovation.  We had hundreds of sites running on several WordPress networks (long story, shudder) and were even using WordPress as the content base for a native iOS and Android app (before AppPresser came along).

But those sites all had one thing in common.

My poor design skills.

While I have an eye for good design, I do not have the matching skills to be able to create it.  I get lucky sometimes, but I am not a designer by any definition other than necessity.  But until right before I left, there wasn’t a designer on staff.  So I did what I had to do.

I think, for the most part, that those sites were okay.  They followed basic UI principles, had decent color schemes, and communicated the information that needed communicating.  Were they going to win awards? No.

Fast forward to today.

Now I work with several brilliant designers who have worked on award winning projects and brands like Chick-fil-a and Home Depot.  I only do development and product management.  I don’t have to wear every hat in the process like I did in the nonprofit world.  But guess what?

Even if I did, there is so much more help out there now in the WordPress community than there was just 3 years ago.  Epicly more than there was 6 years ago.

Which brings me to my new favorite resource for church websites.

In case you haven’t heard, the guys at LiftUX and UpThemes acquired and have been doing some renovations.  Just recently, they released their first theme in the new, Uplifted.  It’s beautiful.  It’s got great church website written all over.  Don’t believe me?  Go check it out.  You’ll be glad you did.

How about you?  Got other church themes that are impressive both in design and functionality? I’m not talking I’m talking high quality, thought out, WordPress standards type themes that are geared towards churches and nonprofits.  I’d love to hear about it!

By Matt Pritchett

Matt is a Christian, a husband, a father to four, and a software engineer at Saturday Drive, the makers of products like Ninja Forms, Caldera Forms, and SendWP. He also helps clients solve complex problems with code, consulting, and more. He occasionally blogs.

One reply on “Finding The Right WordPress Theme For Your Church”

Hey, I especially liked that last part:

“I’m not talking I’m talking high quality, thought out, WordPress standards type themes that are geared towards churches”

Because immediately after reading your article, I read another on the same topic that specifically recommended ThemeForest to churches as the best source for themes. I was hoping I’d see,, and themes from other sellers that do things right.

There’s still a lot of education has to be done to help regular users understand what themes are for, what plugins are for and why what’s under the hood matters in the long-term (especially if they ever want to switch themes without having to manually re-enter every single sermon).

+1 for Uplifted using the Church Theme Content plugin and for your warning about ThemeForest. A few church themes there are using the same plugin but most are continuing with bad practices. I’d love to see Envato become as picky with code as they are with design.

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