Building a new website for your church can be a daunting task. WordPress is a great platform to work with and it is super popular, but with that popularity comes an overwhelming number of options when it comes to themes and templates. In this article, I’m going to help you cut through the noise and share with you some of my favorite themes for churches.
As a professional church website developer who uses WordPress, there are several things our team looks for when reviewing a new WordPress theme.
Here are our main categories:
Is the design clean and consistent across different templates? It’s always a good idea to check the design of comments, sidebar widgets, and footers to get a sense of the quality of the design you are dealing with. Don’t be fooled by nice images, look past them to the use of colors, fonts, and whitespace.
Will this theme allow you to adjust enough things to match your brand? Check what options are available for customizing colors and fonts.
- Data Structure
Can you easily switch to a different theme in the future or is there a proprietary page builder or content type built into the theme?
- Code Quality
Can this theme be easily customized and is it secure and fast?
With these criteria in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the best church themes that are out this year.
I’m always excited when the folks at ChurchThemes release a new theme. Their designs are consistently good and I love that they use a separate plugin for managing the custom content types like sermons, events, and staff. There have been a few times when I wasn’t able to get the level of customization that I was trying for in the theme settings, but I’ve never had trouble writing a few lines of code to do what I need to.
Saved, the newest theme from ChurchThemes, is particularly impressive.
This theme has a beautiful homepage that can present a lot of information in a way that is easily understandable by the visitor. And let me tell you, this is not an easy thing to do. There has obviously been a lot of consideration that’s gone into making this theme both consistently designed and yet still modular.
I will say that I do find the use of color and contrast in the demo a bit harsh, but this is easily customized in the theme settings.
If this theme is a bit too busy for you, be sure to check out some of the other themes from ChurchThemes. They have several different templates and they each have their own strengths.
Outreach Pro is a theme built on the very popular Genesis framework. Outreach Pro provides a very clean, simple layout that is perfect for small churches that don’t have a lot of information to post.
Genesis has a huge community built around it and a ton of add-ons that make customizations and code modifications possible even for novice tech teams.
Outreach Pro does not have built-in support for sermons or other special content types, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There is a fantastic sermon management plugin put out by White Harvest that do the trick.
Bottom line: this theme can be a great starting point for a church that’s looking for something custom, or the perfect theme for a church that’s looking to keep things simple.
I really like the design of the One Church theme by UpThemes, it’s smart and modern without being too trendy. UpThemes has been a trusted part of the WordPress community for a long time, and that says a lot about the quality of the solutions and support they provide.
On the plus side, this theme has built-in support for the Beaver Builder, which is my favorite WordPress page builder by far.
If you are looking for a new design for your church website, this theme should definitely be on your short list for consideration.
These themes are not specifically built for churches but are flexible enough that they are still great options to consider.
I have mixed feelings about the Divi theme. It has quickly become one of the most popular WordPress themes due to its high level of customization. The theme feels really bloated to me and I can’t imagine trying to train a non-technical person to use it. That said, I have a lot of friends who I respect very much who have created some amazing things with Divi. So it is definitely a good solution for some people and worth checking out.
Another add-on for Divi is Churchly. It’s a child theme for Divi made for churches that supports ChurchTheme’s Church Content plugin.
Make is one of my all-time favorite WordPress themes and it happens to be the only theme in this list that is totally free. Make has an incredible amount of customizability without being overly complex plus it has a simple intuitive page builder that makes complex layouts simple and easy to create.
If you go with a theme that does not include support for special content types like sermons or events, here is a list of plugins that I recommend to add these features:
If you have another theme or plugin that you’ve used and liked, I’d love to hear about it. Please post it in the comments below.