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How Joe Built His Church’s New Website With Zero WordPress Experience

The Tabernacle Church

We love to see how churches are using our WordPress themes to build their new websites. What Joe Mendes has done with his church’s website really caught my eye. Joe is the Media Director at The Tabernacle, located in and around Clarksville, TN with multiple campuses. He had no prior experience with WordPress and yet he built something very nice with ease.

I had no experience working with WordPress when I took on the task of creating the new site. The good news; however, was the Resurrect theme had virtually no learning curve. Joe Mendes

Joe was generous with his time in allowing me to interview him for this latest of our Showcase posts. Learn from Joe what it’s like building a church website with one of our WordPress themes.

The Tabernacle’s New Website

The Tabernacle Website

First, take a look at what Joe built. The Tabernacle’s new website is powered by our Resurrect church WordPress theme. This is the first theme we released and is still a very popular choice (Joe will explain why in a moment).

The Resurrect theme was a no-brainer… Joe Mendes

Joe stuck with the default dark color scheme and “asphalt” background image (see the demo‘s left-hand palette icon for other options). This look suits his church very well out of the box.

The Tabernacle’s photography really stands out. If you want your site to shine, focus on good photography. This is one of the points I stressed in Getting Church Website Visitors Through Your Doors. First impressions are important.

The Tabernacle’s new website is also well-organized. In particular, I like the “I’m New” menu item as the very first link. This makes it easy for the visitor to learn about the church, what to expect, where their campuses are and what time services happen. This is critical and Joe nailed it.

Interview With Joe Mendes

Let’s learn more from Joe himself about how he built his church’s website with zero WordPress experience — and even found it easy.

Please tell us a little about yourself and The Tabernacle.

The Tabernacle is a multi-campus ministry located in Stewart/Montgomery County, Tennessee. We exist for the purpose of Making Disciples and Releasing Ministers. We have grown to understand that healthy community is the best way for us to maintain consistent Christian living (Hebrews 10:23-25) so we have a strong discipleship focus (Matthew 28:19). We currently have two thriving campuses, but will launch our third campus on September 14th, 2014.

I am the Media Director for The TAB. I, with a group of really awesome, devoted people, help to oversee everything media at The Tabernacle. We are active on many social media sites, have a weekly live stream, produce weekly in house video promotions & announcements, and tons more!

Why did you choose our Resurrect WordPress theme for your church’s new website?

The Resurrect theme was a no-brainer for us. We searched many different themes that are available, but found nothing that really felt like a custom fit for us. We decided on WordPress for it’s ease of use, but didn’t want to sacrifice some of the features that we were looking for in our site. We produce a lot of content at The Tabernacle, so it was important for us to find a theme that was up to the task of keeping up with our content, while keeping the navigation, workflow, and aesthetic really simple.

Resurrect was the answer. The theme beautifully houses all of our media content (recent sermons, galleries, event promotions, etc.). The front end has simple navigation, and an awesome aesthetic, and the back end is nearly as simple. Content creation in Resurrect is a dream – it’s almost too easy.

What has it been like using the Resurrect theme? Any favorite features?

I’m not a website guy – I’m a video guy. I had no experience working with WordPress when I took on the task of creating the new site. The good news; however, was the Resurrect theme had virtually no learning curve. Setting up the theme was very easy. When I did get stumped, churchthemes.com ‘Support’ had every answer that I needed. The video tutorials and walk-throughs made it simple. Everything is incredibly customizable, so we were able to create a site that looks and feels like The Tabernacle.

Everything is incredibly customizable, so we were able to create a site that looks and feels like The Tabernacle. Joe Mendes

The features on Resurrect are awesome. The recurring events save a lot of time and prevent us from having to re-communicate information that occurs on a weekly basis. The site does it for us. The built in map directions for events makes the site incredible interactive and useful. The sermon archive makes it so easy to make tons of resources available to any site visitors. It looks awesome on mobile devices – the site is truly responsive. I could keep going. There are tons of excellent features.

What do you hope visitors to your church’s new website will benefit from?

One of the main objectives for the new site was to be incredibly informational for the first time guest that’s never experienced a service at The Tabernacle, so we catered the new site to them. Our hope is that people who hear about our ministry will visit the site and will have every resource that they need in order to make a decision to visit one of our services. Likewise, we also want our regular congregants to be able to use the site to keep up with upcoming events, and have access to some of the resources that many modern churches offer, such as online giving and the sermon archive. The ultimate goal is that the site becomes a place that anyone from our community can visit in order to see what a service is like, stay informed, and get connected with the many different facets of the ministry.

Would you recommend churchthemes.com to other churches and why?

Without a doubt, I would recommend churchthemes.com to other ministries. While there are other WordPress themes that are created solely for church use – churchthemes.com has really gone out of their way to include features that most churches are looking for today. Not only are the features great, but it’s also incredibly easy to use and update. It’s not tedious at all. Churches that are looking for a simple, but good looking solution for their website should check out churchthemes.com.

As Media Director, tell us how you see media as being an important tool for churches…

Media has always been essential to the sharing of the truth. Think about what the Gutenberg Printing Press did for the world, and for the church for that matter. Fast forward nearly six hundred years, and you see the exponential growth of media that is deeply rooted in every single facet of our lives. The little computers called smart phones that we carry around with us have become extensions of who we are, and we use them to access more information than we’ve ever previously had available to us.

The opportunities that we now have at our finger tips to share the message of the Gospel are literally innumerable; however, there is so much information available that it can become just noise. If we’re not careful, our message can get lost in the mix because other messages are packaged better – or scream louder than our own. That is the importance of media for the church. If we believe that we have a message to share with the world, then we have to stay on the cutting edge in terms of how we share it or risk having it become just more noise.

In Closing

What I love is that Joe built a very beautiful and useful website for his church without entering into the process with prior WordPress experience. WordPress is made to be user-friendly and that’s why we chose it as a platform for helping churches create useful websites. It’s not just that it’s a low cost solution, it’s a useful solution suitable for all levels of experience.

Content creation in Resurrect is a dream – it’s almost too easy. Joe Mendes

Even more wonderful is that Joe told me a church in another state saw The Tabernacle‘s website and liked it so much that Joe is now helping them redesign their website using WordPress and one of our themes.

We hope your experience with WordPress and our church themes will be similar to Joe’s and that your result will be equally excellent.

4 Comments

  1. Steve, I enjoyed that interview!

    Was reading this on my iPad. When I scrolled down the page to the preview of The Tabernacle’s new home page, I was like, “WHOA!” (literally, I said that out loud). I knew I was getting ready to see Resurrect, but there’s something about what Joe did with it that stopped me in my tracks!

    Favorite question: “What do you hope visitors to your church website will benefit from?” Warms my heart to see they thought this through–that they’re intentional about what they want to accomplish with the site.

    Too often, the decision-makers get hung up on the “cool factor” and “eye candy” of a theme without FIRST considering what it is they want to accomplish with their website, then selecting a design, layout, and content to help them reach those goals. The process slows things down, but it’s SO worth it!

    Looks like Joe’s nailed it with Resurrect, and is passing it on.

    Great job!

    • Thank you for commenting, Grace. Joe really did do a good job. A great example for other churches wanting to use WordPress.

      You’re right, there’s more to building a good church website than choosing a design that looks nice. Careful thought and planning is important. You get out of the website what you put into it!

  2. Nice one…only if i can tweak the css and the change the slider to metalslider then I can have a bespoke site for my church. I knw this will not easily come by but its doable… :)

    Cheers

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