“…after Suncrest grew and started multiple campuses, they needed a better way to organize their content in a way that could be easily updated by a volunteer team, and better understood by their users.”Alexander Sawyer (in his write-up)
I’ve been thinking about the cost of church websites for a while now. WordPress is often considered a low-cost solution, and it usually is (here’s why), but does that mean it is suitable only for small churches with small budgets? I say no. If a solution meets your needs, it meets your needs. Churches need to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them. This interview with Alexander Sawyer sheds some light on the topic.
See Suncrest’s New Website
You’ll probably want to look at Suncrest Christian Church’s new website before reading the interview. Alexander has demonstrated how a professional result can be achieved by inserting the church’s logo, using a matching background and choosing high quality photography. You may notice they opted not to use widgets at the bottom of the homepage (compare to Resurrect’s demo) and you can see how they took full advantage of the support for multiple locations.
Talking With Alexander Sawyer
Please tell us a little about yourself and Suncrest Christian Church.
Suncrest Christian Church is a non-denominational church located in St. John, Indiana. I originally got connected with Suncrest through Liberty University as a requirement of my worship leading degree. At the end of my internship, I really wanted to help them update their website, since their previous version was a little outdated. We got to work and I think the results are incredible!
Why did Suncrest Christian Church choose WordPress and our Resurrect theme for their new website?
The biggest decision to go with WordPress was so that they could have control. We were originally pursuing another option but they were very limited: poor mobile solution, high costs to customize the theme, no blog features, and not very cost effective long-term. As for Resurrect, when I first heard of churchthemes.com, I was very excited to see what it could do. It really offers all the features that a church website would need (blog, messages, locations, solid homepage).
What has it been like using the Resurrect theme? Any favorite features?
Resurrect has been great! A big part of the project was making things simple on the backend since the site is maintained by various staff members and volunteers. It needed to be straight forward and simple to use. The WordPress dashboard is very organized with custom post types and widgets so you know exactly what goes where.
I also love the retina optimization and responsive design, two things that set this apart from other options.
What do you hope visitors to Suncrest Christian Church’s new website will benefit from?
Our hopes are that people will be more informed with what’s going on at Suncrest and who the church is as a whole. Ideally, people searching for churches will find Suncrest and be able to connect with a real person very quickly.
Would you recommend churchthemes.com to other churches and why?
Yes, definitely! Churches have the most important message in the world; to share God’s love and the Gospel story. We can’t afford to have people write us off because of bad design. These themes help the world understand that we take the Gospel seriously. They also let normal people (not web developers) to keep them updated so we can use websites as a tool to share this message.
Do you have any thoughts on WordPress being a good and cost-effective solution for churches?
WordPress is just so simple. It’s incredibly easy to learn and use. It’s also highly cost effective. For under $100 you can buy a theme, setup a site, and then only have to pay for monthly hosting. Even if you want to hire a professional, you could spend under $1000 dollars to get things setup, and then you have the ability to update it yourself instead of paying for each small update.
The point with WordPress is that it gives you control, you’re not constantly dependent on a web developer to keep your site updated. If you do need help, there are more than enough articles about WordPress to solve your problems and most theme companies have great support. WordPress is hassle-free and gives you an incredible long-term solution!
We appreciate that Suncrest Christian Church is using our WordPress theme and that Alexander has taken the time to share his experience building their new website with our readers. Follow Alexander Sawyer at alexandersawyer.com and on Twitter. You can also hire him to build a church website with the same polish as Suncrest Christian Church.
Resurrect and all of our WordPress themes are designed specifically for churches — churches of all sizes. WordPress is a low-cost solution no matter who (staff member, volunteer, professional) builds your church website.
Doing everything yourself can cost as little as the theme itself (which is $50 and includes one year of support from us) when taking advantage of Dreamhost’s free nonprofit hosting offer. Other hosting typically runs at about $10/month. A domain name will be about $15 per year if you don’t already have one. As Alexander mentioned, going the pro route will still probably be only a few hundred dollars.
So, what do you like best about Suncrest Christian Church’s new website? What’s your favorite feature of Resurrect?