Plugins to Help Your Church Website

While WordPress is a great platform to run your website, it doesn’t have all of the features you probably want in a modern church website.  It’s nice to know you can expand the functionality with some of the 3,000 or so plugins that wordpress.org offers.  The question is which ones can help you out of all of those.

To make your website the best it can I’ve put together a list of the most useful WordPress plugins for churches.  I’m certain that there are many others that could make the list, but these make a great starting place.

Podcasting:  We have been using the PodPress plugin for some time and have been generally pleased with it.  What you want to provide in Podcasting is a way for people to subscribe to your messages in iTunes, but still be able to download them individually without using iTunes.  PodPress does this well, plus it lets people listen to the message inside of the post without saving it to their computer.  You can download PodPress here (plugin has been taken down) as well as learn more about it.

Contact Form:  There are numerous contact forms for WordPress available out there.  I like cformsII quite a bit for several reasons.  It allows you to have multiple forms which is especially handy if you need several sign ups for events or contacts or some other purpose.  Plus it comes with several built in styles that can be adapted to fit the feel of your website.  It allows you to specify what information you collect and whether responses are required or not.  You can put initial information into the form that gets cleared out when someone clicks on it.  It is very professional in appearance.  You can download here (plugin has been taken down).

Content Gallery:  Most churches have lots of information that they are trying to communicate.  Add to that the relatively small space that makes up the front of any church website and you have a disaster waiting to happen.  A great way to get around this is with some sort of content rotator.  Lots of these are available for use with Flash.  Flash looks great, but it tends to be slow and is often inaccessible.  If someone views your site on an iPhone, the content stored in Flash might as well not be there.  Content Gallery is a slick plugin for WordPress that uses a technology called javascript to create an image rotator that links to specific posts on your site.  It’s easy to set up and the effect is great.  I use it on the front of www.organizedthemes.com to highlight themes and services we offer.  Some of my clients use it to showcase upcoming messages as well as large church-wide announcements.  You can learn more about Content Gallery and download it here (link doesn’t work anymore).

Newsletters:  Many churches like to send out regular newsletters to keep their congregations up to date with what is happening at the church.  There is a fantastic plugin called MailPress that allows you to use WordPress to run your email campaigns.  This is a full featured plugin that allows you to send emails to all users, or just a select number of them.  It also allows you to style the email to look like your website to keep your style consistent.  We’ll go into more depth soon about what the ins and outs of a good email campaign.  You can learn more about MailPress and download it here (plugin has been taken down).

Calendar:  What church doesn’t have some calendar of upcoming events?  Even if it’s just the weekly services, something is planned just about all the time.  One of the best ways a church website can help out a congregation is through the use of an online calendar.  WordPress does have a variety of plugins that can help you in this regard, most of them do have their limitations.  Right now we are setting people up with WPListCal by Jonathan Kern.  You can find out more about the plugin and download it here (website has been taken down).  This plugin will allow you to keep an online calendar of upcoming events.  It doesn’t set recurring events, so it’s better suited special or one time meetings than weekly gatherings.  One thing this plugin does well is produce a list of upcoming events that you can easily feature on your homepage or in your sidebar.

WordPress is a fantastic tool to manage your website’s content.  I hope that with these plugins it will be even more useful to your church or ministry than it is now. Part of its great flexibility is its ability to adapt and stretch through the use of great plugins and themes.  Here at www.organizedthemes.com we are committed to helping you make the best use of all these tools.

To make sure you stay on top of all the developments in WordPress and the web that affect your church’s website, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed here.

25 Comments

Ebrahim August 10, 2011

Thanks for the great plugins am from South Africa and im building a church directroy these tools will help

Great work !!!

Reply

    Bill Robbins August 19, 2011

    That’s great to hear. Let me know if I can help out at all.

    Reply

Kevin Crawley September 29, 2010

Good listing of needed plug-ins. I know the article is a bit dated, but BuddyPress is great for creating a church forum.

Reply

    Bill Robbins September 29, 2010

    No doubt. I think churches could could be doing more with BuddyPress that would be of real benefit to members.

    Reply

Nevaeh Green April 30, 2010

i enjoy Podcasting on my desktop PC. it really helps me share my ideas and thoughts over the internet’;.

Reply

Nevaeh Green April 30, 2010

i enjoy Podcasting on my desktop PC. it really helps me share my ideas and thoughts over the internet’;.

Reply

Mark Rathbun March 27, 2010

Great Article 🙂

Reply

Reginald Atoe March 25, 2010

The Lord is great worship him!

Reply

Reginald Atoe March 25, 2010

The Lord is great worship him!

Reply

MrT March 15, 2010

Can I suggest another plugin to add to your list? Sermon Browser is absolutely superb.

I am away to try your recomendation for a calendar as I need a better one.

Thanks

MrT

Reply

    Bill Robbins March 18, 2010

    I have heard many good things about Sermon Browser, but have yet to give it a try on a live site. I’ll have to change that soon. Let us know how your calendar experience turns out.

    Reply

MrT March 15, 2010

Can I suggest another plugin to add to your list? Sermon Browser is absolutely superb.

I am away to try your recomendation for a calendar as I need a better one.

Thanks

MrT

Reply

    Bill Robbins March 18, 2010

    I have heard many good things about Sermon Browser, but have yet to give it a try on a live site. I’ll have to change that soon. Let us know how your calendar experience turns out.

    Reply

Camnio Media January 8, 2010

That church website theme looks great

Reply

    Bill Robbins January 8, 2010

    Thanks, I’m glad you like them.

    Reply

Camnio Media January 8, 2010

That church website theme looks great

Reply

    Bill Robbins January 8, 2010

    Thanks, I’m glad you like them.

    Reply

Stuff for Standalone Sites « Freechurchwebsite’s Weblog November 19, 2008

[…] has a decent roundup of five WordPress plugins to help your church website. Not to be outdone Church Communications Pro has a list of six plugins along the same […]

Reply

Stuff for Standalone Sites « Freechurchwebsite’s Weblog November 19, 2008

[…] has a decent roundup of five WordPress plugins to help your church website. Not to be outdone Church Communications Pro has a list of six plugins along the same […]

Reply

Bill Robbins October 13, 2008

Jennifer, Glad I could help you out. Check back soon as I’m going to start a series of posts going into how to set up and use each of these plugins. Thanks for the WPremix suggestion. I’m always looking for good themes to base work for clients on.

Reply

Bill Robbins October 13, 2008

Jennifer, Glad I could help you out. Check back soon as I’m going to start a series of posts going into how to set up and use each of these plugins. Thanks for the WPremix suggestion. I’m always looking for good themes to base work for clients on.

Reply

Jennifer Mills October 13, 2008

Thanks so much for the great info – we just started using WP more and more for our non-blog websites, and they are making it much cheaper for us to design sites for churches. Check out WPremix – it is a really awesome theme.

Reply

Jennifer Mills October 13, 2008

Thanks so much for the great info – we just started using WP more and more for our non-blog websites, and they are making it much cheaper for us to design sites for churches. Check out WPremix – it is a really awesome theme.

Reply

Bill Robbins October 9, 2008

I hope these plugins will help all of you do everything you can dream of with your WordPress powered website.

Reply

Bill Robbins October 9, 2008

I hope these plugins will help all of you do everything you can dream of with your WordPress powered website.

Reply

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