Adding Sermons to Your Church Website

July 30, 2012 — 7 Comments

sermonsTwo years ago, I shared about a number of ways you can embed sermons in your church website. I’ve been thinking about making a change on our church website, so I’ve been looking at the options that are currently available. Since the last post, WordPress has become a popular options for church websites, so I want to focus on options that work as plugins in WordPress. I found two options that both seem great.

 

For me, the ideal sermon plugin

  • handles both sermon audio and video
  • creates a podcast feed that can be plugged into feedburner or iTunes
  • allows you to include sermon notes, small group discussion guides, and even sermon outlines or text
  • organizes sermons by series, speaker, date, and topics
  • allows you to share sermons with your friends through social networks

seriesengine

Series Engine

Series Engine is a brand new plugin which is by the same author that developed PrayerEngine. It looks like a great solution for most churches. It has great sharing options and it includes a options panel with many configuration options. It also has a podcast builder that allows you to easily customize and create podcast feeds. I like the fact that is works within WordPress and that it has a custom embed shortcode generator that allows you to easily embed sermon series into different pages throughout your site. It also includes widgets that can be used in any widgetized area.  The one-time cost is a little high at $99, but I still think it is a great value for most church websites. The cost includes lifetime support and upgrades The best way to see how it works is to watch the demo video below. This is the plugin that I’m considering using for our church website.


wpforchurch-logo

 WP For Church SermonManager

SermonManager is a great little plugin that you can download for free. They offer support forums, video tutorials, and access to other plugins and themes for a membership of $2.50 per month. It is not quite as full featured as SeriesEngine, but it is definitely powerful. It offers podcasting support, audio and video embed support, widgets, and sorting by series, speaker, and topics. The best way to see how it works is by viewing their demo page

 

My Conclusion

We’ve been using the MediaFusion service for several years now. It is a great service that works with any website, including those that are not based on WordPress. It works great, but they had a recent price increase for new customers that makes the cost $290 per year. I feel that it is a great service for us at the former price, but a little overpriced now for our needs. It’s also starting to look a little dated since it doesn’t match the style of our site.  I’m also wanting to bring our sermons into WordPress for SEO reasons. Having all the content available in sitemaps should help people find sermons and increase the web traffic to our site. These plugins also allow you to use custom CSS to match the styling of your site. So for what we are looking for, SeriesEngine looks like a good fit.

I’m hoping more people also start developing plugins for church websites using WordPress. I do know that iThemes has an excellent sermon plugin that works for their builder themes, and church theme vendors like ChurchThemer offer built-in sermon support. I also saw a new responsive WordPress theme called Risen on ThemeForest that offers built-in sermon support.

Mike

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I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 18 years, and we have three awesome kids, Emma, Luke, and Drew.

7 responses to Adding Sermons to Your Church Website

  1. Thanks for the kind words about the Series Engine, Mike. We’re just getting started, and hope to add even more great features in the near future!

    Also, a quick thought to add to the discussion… One of the reasons I developed Series Engine was to provide a way to manage sermons that was independent of some of the great church themes out there. Some of them have similar functionality built in (albeit with a more limited scope), but your content is held hostage should you ever switch to another theme. That may not matter for every ministry, but it’s something to consider as you weigh the options.

    • That’s a great point about the sermons being linked to a particular theme. I’m working on a new church website for a client and I’m having to disable the built-in sermon custom post types just so I can make everything work the way I want it to.

  2. I wanted to let everyone know that both of these plugins had major updates this week. Visit http://mediableep.com/2012/08/21/the-best-sermon-plugin-is-now-even-better/ and http://www.wpforchurch.com/2306/sermon-manager-1-5-rc-now-available/ for more details

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