Last month, I was excited to win a new WordPress theme from churchthemes.com. They just released their newest theme, appropriately named Maranatha. Within a week, I was able to update our church website to use the new theme. Here’s a quick look at our new website. Keep reading to learn more about this great new theme for WordPress.
I’ve been a huge proponent of using WordPress for churches. It has really transformed into a great Content Management System. If you add the right theme and plugins, you can have an amazing website on a limited budget. WordPress does require a little technical expertise to setup, optimize the hosting, and update, but once it is installed, it works great.
I have used several themes from churchthemes.com in the past. I really appreciate their efforts to make WordPress accessible to all churches. They have created a WordPress plugin, Church Theme Content, that can be used by other developers to incorporate sermons, events, locations, and staff into their church themes. This makes it easy to switch themes in the future by simply changing the overall theme without losing all your valuable content. For Cornerstone, I was able to switch from an older theme that didn’t have the Church Theme Content Plugin, but it did require some custom database work.
The New Approach by Maranatha
Maranatha takes a new approach that I really admire. It focuses on the readability of each page, and it provides a framework that calls people to action. Here is an excerpt about the philosophy behind the design.
Sliders, while attractive and popular, are often not as effective as assumed. With Maranatha, instead of showing a handful of slides, you will show a handful sections that the user scrolls through. Each section has a background image (with parallax-inspired effect), title, description and several buttons …
In years past, it was considered a necessity to have all of the most important content “above the fold” (visible without scrolling) as with a slider at the top. That time is long gone because today’s users scroll. Mobile browsing is extremely commonplace and requires a whole lot of scrolling. And that scrolling has become habit, even while users are on large screens.
This theme has so many little touches that set it apart. Upcoming events stick to the bottom of the screen as you scroll. Custom navigational menus are shown for relevant topics to help you find what you are looking for. The menu even looks great.
Sidebars have been banished in the theme to improve readability. Widgets are available in the footer, but they don’t get in the way. It really makes the design clean and functional. Also, whenever you are stuck or need help, churchthemes.com has great documentation, including guides and videos on their website. The cost is also affordable at $99 up front, with support and updates costing an additional $50 per year after the first year. They also offer a more powerful events plugin that adds custom recurring events for an additional $29.
If you need additional layout options, I would recommend adding Visual Composer or the SiteOrigin Page Builder. I decided on the free SiteOrigin plugin to add the ability to do custom page layouts for our church website.
My Final Thoughts
I believe this is the best church theme on the market by a wide margin. I like the styling and I like the functionality. It is easy to customize and it allows you to have a professional looking website on a budget. I have received so many great compliments on our new church website. It is easier to navigate, and the menu system really helped us to simplify our site.
If you are interested in learning more about Maranatha, please visit churchthemes.com.
(note: the links to church themes.com are my affiliate links, so I will receive commission for any sales through this link. I only recommend what I use and believe in!)
Finally, here is a gallery showing several of the new features.