I’ve seen a lot of lists of “WordPress Themes for Churches,” and very few have been impressive. In fact, a major reason ChurchThemes exists is to fill this gap. I guess a great question we must ask is, “What makes a theme a ‘Church’ theme?”
More Than Just a Picture of a Cross
This should go without saying, but themes for a church need to look good. As a church, don’t settle on a subpar theme simply because it has an picture of a cross or a guy standing before the sunset with his arms wide open. Don’t let anyone call it a Church Theme simply because of some imagery — add some functionality The Church can use.
In WP 3.0, custom post types were added, allowing themes to handle different types of information in powerful ways. And in WP 3.1, custom post types became even more powerful by allowing multiple taxonomy queries. For instance, here at Church Themes we include special features and layouts for Sermons, People (i.e., Staff), and multiple Locations. These are critical content areas for the ecclesiastical niche, and need to be addressed specifically by the theme.
To say this another way, a theme dedicated to churches should be able handle things like sermons without the need for additional plugins.
Home Page Layout
A church site doesn’t look like a sanctified blog, with a slider, a list of posts and a sidebar. Church home pages need lots of modular information, from contact info and address to latest events/news/sermons. This is where WordPress widgets can shine. A good Church Theme needs room for widgetized information on its home page.
For a WordPress Theme to be a true Church Theme, it needs to look good and have some muscle under the hood, some real work done in the backend to accommodate the needs of the Body of Christ. Don’t settle for any less.
What do you think? What other features should a church theme include? What are your ideas? Let us know in the comments!