But What About…

Is this where the plug(-in) goes?

Our top goals for our Worship Times websites are: We want them to look good. We want them to be affordable. We want them to be easy to use, so our members can have the freedom to customize.

We design our templates to be elegant in style, and easy to use. We rigorously test our templates, plug-ins and integrations we add to our system. Not every template or plug-in designed for WordPress works well, and some may break your site altogether. Worship Times seeks only the highest quality products to offer our members.

Our members often have unique needs and ask us about adding particular plug-ins or integrations to meet those needs. They may say, “I love my site, but I really wish it did…,” or “What about this plug-in?” When we are asked about such services, like a good picture slider, a database system, or more, Worship Times looks at multiple options. Then we vet and test the ones that best meet the needs of the member requesting the plug-in. We also consider which plug-ins and integrations will best meet the needs of members with similar needs.

The ones that both meet the specific needs and work well with WordPress get approval. The ones that have wide appeal are added to the whole network, so other members can easily add those capabilities to their sites. It is important to us that every piece of your website works in concert with another. We have created a system where our members are very much in control of the content of their websites, but do not have to worry about security, system or plug-in updates, or which plug-ins will work best for their needs.

We have recently added several plug-in options as well as vetted new options on long-time, standard Worship Times plug-ins, such as Gravity Forms. We’ll be talking about all of these updates in the coming weeks, but we wanted to share a bit about the work that goes into each and every piece of the Worship Times system as your website needs change over time.

Do you have an idea that requires extra tools on your website? Ask us. We may already have the plug-in or integration tested and available to be added to your site, or will find one that works.

Worship Times: Worship Leader Magazine Editor’s Pick for 2016

bestofbug-2016-200For the third year in a row, Worship Times has been named Worship Leader Magazine Editor’s Pick for Digital Worship Resources: Web Development!

Meeting the digital needs of ministries and non-profits is our call and passion. We love helping our members discover new ways to communicate and improve upon existing ones. We help ministries tell their story and share their work and call in the world.

Being chosen again as an Editor’s Pick by Worship Leader Magazine reaffirms our commitment to the work we do together, and energizes us for future collaborations with churches, ministries, and non-profits.

We thank our members for the confidence and trust they put in us and allowing us to accompany them in ministry.

So, You’re Ready for a New Website: Content

content blog imageA Good Church Website Communicates:

  1. A reflection of who your church is.
  2. Your commitment to communication in various forms.
  3. Your awareness to reach outside your walls.
  4. Ability to generate discussion and connection.
  5. As body language, grammar, and eye contact are to personal communication, a well-designed website is to digital communication.
  6. “Design isn’t just what it looks and feels like, it’s also how it works.” Steve Jobs

What are the things that should be included in our new website?

Here are Worship Times’ Top 11 things people want in your church’s website:

11. Organized Navigation: too many menu items and dropdowns can be overwhelming. Cull what’s not needed and organize!

10. Text, but not too wordy. Do you want to read pages upon pages of text when you visit a website? Neither do your visitors.

9. Audio/Video of sermons. 50% of visitors to a church website downloaded a sermon (it’s a great preview) 80% of first-time church visitors listened to a sermon online before they attended a particular church.

8. Updated information. Your site isn’t vintage. It’s old. Update it.

7. Coordinating colors. Rainbows and neon green don’t look good. Period.

6. Visitor-centric language – Using churchy language or language that’s unique or insider to your congregation or ministry is exclusive. Be inclusive and include information that’s easy to understand for all visitors and members, alike.

5. PICTURES/images. Of people actually in your church/ministry. A picture of the building is nice, put what goes on there? Sharing the life of your church tells a story. Great pictures can tell it well.

4. How to contact someone. Email a staff person. Fill out a contact form. How they call the church. 60% of visitors to a church website couldn’t find the information they were looking for or even a way to find it out!

3. When Worship Services are! It’s amazing how many church websites we’ve visited that didn’t list their worship times, anywhere.

2. YOUR LOCATION! The two indispensable items guests want on a website are address and times of service. It’s that basic!

#1 – A website. It’s 2016, and many churches still don’t have a website. It’s the new front door. 85% of people who are first time visitors to a church visited the website, first. 

What messages need to be included in our church website?

  1. Who are you as a church.
  2. What you offer: for spiritual growth, Christian education, mission and fellowship.
  3. How visitors can benefit from being part of your community.
  4. What you would want to know about the church.
  5. If it doesn’t answer the questions above, get rid of it.

Featured Client: Presbytery of Philadelphia

pby of philThe Presbytery of Philadelphia is a long-time member of Worship Times, and we were excited to recently build and launch a brand new site for the presbytery that includes updated design, navigation and other usability features. You might think we get sad when our members start talking about a website facelift, but we actually think it’s great.

We encourage our members to update the look of their sites every couple of years to keep them fresh and working well. Design and web tools change and improve over time, and we want our members to take advantage of new tools that have been created or added since their last updates. Also, we hope your ministries are growing and changing as well, and the website you created three years ago might not fit you anymore.

Our work with the Presbytery of Philadelphia also reflects the kind of relationship we like to have with our members. As the presbytery recognized the need for an updated look, and a website that better highlighted the specific work and mission of their presbytery, they began conversations with Worship Times.

When we work with our members, we appreciate these conversations about what the goals of a particular website need to be, the character of a particular ministry, and the needs of visitors to that ministry’s website. Our goal is to use our own ministry experience and web design skills to translate your ministry’s mission to a website that fits the ministry’s character and is easily accessible and understandable for users. As your ministry needs and mission are grown, updated, or become outdated, we want to continue to be part of those conversations.

The Presbytery of Philadelphia wanted to reorganize their blog, make navigation of their resources for each regional group of churches clearer, and better highlight ministry happening throughout the presbytery, all in a design that flowed from their updated logo and color scheme. The result is clean and user-friendly, and lifts up in new ways their innovative Ministry and Leadership Incubator, the work being done in camp and conference ministry, community outreach and connectional ministries.

Presbyteries do a lot of work, and have a wide audience, so their websites can be complicated. Being able to showcase that work in a beautiful and easy-to-use website is a satisfying job that we are happy to share with you. So, go take a look!

The Real Cost of Building a Good Website


"Money" spelled out in Scrabble tiles

Picture from StockMonkey

You want a new website for your ministry.

You want a site that’s clean, organized, but also secure and has the tools you need to share the information you need and tell your story.

But now comes the scary part, talking about the cost. We all hate talking about money. And in ministry settings, it seems impolite, even a bit dirty. But the reality is, ministries take money to run, or resources of some kind, and many are not free.

Last week we talked about the costs of having a poor website, or no website at all for your ministry – it’s not about putting butts in pews or having the flashiest promotional material on the web, it’s about telling this beautiful story of faith well. And a good website that is easily updated and used well does cost some money. Worship Times endeavors to use your money wisely with a unique package of tools designed for ministries, as well as a team of people who see our work as not just a quality business, but as supporting ministries in their mission.

On our What’s Included page, we list the great features included in our sites, but we wanted to go a bit deeper into these tools, so you truly understand what’s included in your Worship Times site:

Word Press is an easy to use platform to update and manage your website.  Word Press is open source. Therefore, you’re never locked into WT’s own system. If you are ever dissatisfied, you can take your site, and host it elsewhere.

Gravity Forms: assists in making building forms, registration, surveys, donations, and other forms a breeze. All you have to do is drag and drop!

Backup Buddy: every week your files and data is backed up, zipped, and sent to a separate server on Amazon S3.

Support System: We are always here to help. Our support system is built into your website. You have access to our team. Support is never outsourced.

Learning Center: A video tutorial library is built into your system to assist with every section of your site.

Publications: You can easily add MP3, PDFs, video, and other media to your website. We built a publications tools you can easily add and display sermons, newsletters, Bible studies, meeting minutes, and so much more!

Staff Manager: You can easily add and update staff! Visitors can search for your staff and contact them directly from the website. Sorting by department or ministry team is available. Many ministries use this tool to display their current board or session.

Media: You can display your 3rd party creations. Easily display videos from YouTube and Vimeo, live stream from Ustream, play clips from Hulu, offer directions with Google Maps, take a survey with Poll Daddy, share musical selections with Spotify, and much more!

Social Media: We’ve made it easy to display social media buttons to your favorite accounts.  You can also display feeds from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As new social media is invented, our offerings grow. Our team stays on top of the trends, and updates our offerings to you.

Members Only: With the click of a button, you can restrict certain parts of your website to be viewed only by members who are logged into your website.

Google Analytics: Track your website visitors with the robust Google tools. We use Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast to tie your website into Google’s program.

StudioPress Themes: Professionally designed premium WordPress themes.  StudioPress developed Genesis which is the industry standard in WordPress designed frameworks. Most of our website solutions begin with a StudioPress theme. Our members have access to our constantly growing design catalog and can switch themes at anytime at no additional cost.

VaultPress: VaultPress is a subscription-based security and backup service for self-hosted WordPress sites. VaultPress is built on the same grid that reliably serves many millions of WordPress.com sites.

Cloud Flare Pro: CloudFlare protects and accelerates your website. Block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers. CloudFlare-powered website see significant improvements in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.

Max CDN: With a content delivery network (CDN) your larger files are spread out over many different servers to vastly speed up your website.

Liquid Web Dedicated Server: Liquid Web is our hosting company with an unwavering dedication to providing the best hosting product available. We use a dedicated quad –core box with upgrades for security and speed.

This sounds great, but what’s it cost. (We understand church budgets. 😉


Cost Comparison:

To match us you’d spend, $8,017.95 in your first year, and $7, 549.00 in following years (without any upgrades or site design changes)

To use the middle ground on your own: $2,629.95 your first year and $2,161.00 in following years.

To use the cheap path on your own: $2,208. 95 your first year and $1, 740.00 in following years.

With Worship Times, your standard package is $1063 in the first year, and $564 in following years. That includes unlimited theme changes on your own and a once-a-year change of theme with assistance from our staff.

Worship Times, not only saves you money, where in most ministry and non-profit budgets every penny counts. Worship Times saves time. We help set you up, and train you to make the most out of your website. Your time is precious. Ignoring the site is not an option. Our self-updating calendars, event management system, and scheduled posts help you stay on top of  those communications tasks that often take a back seat to other needs.

So, come talk to us about your website needs, we want to hear your story.

Featured Client: UNCO

Unco logo

Worship Times was founded in order to help ministries tell their stories through digital media. We created a platform that was easily accessible to users – both technologically and financially – but also provided the highest quality websites and digital communications. We believed that quality did not have to be sacrificed for affordability or user ease, but could go hand-in-hand. We have found similar creative work in the people and ministries that have participated in the Unconference, a church-based, open-format gathering of people who believe that church doesn’t have to be complicated to be amazing. People who are doing remarkable things with very little conventional resources.

People like Anna Woofenden, who started The Garden Church, and saw the possibilities of extending God’s Kingdom to an anonymous alleyway. Mercy Junction, which was created at one of the first Unco gatherings from a conversation between Brian Merritt and Laura Becker. Ministries supported and inspired by Unco and the people who gather there range from these to The Kirk Coffee, Love Wins, Isaiah’s Table, The Word House, Sanctuary for the Arts, Our Common Ground, and Open Gathering. (And more.) Worship Times has been in the mix from the beginning. Having conversations about digital ministry and communications, providing websites, cheering on Spirit-filled ministry.

Worship Times doesn’t just play lip service to innovative ministries, nor do we believe innovative ministry comes in a particular shape, size or age category. We are working and sharing moral Unco waves hisupport with people doing creative ministry in well-established churches, and people who are not sure what they are creating as they just get started, fueled by a calling and passion of the Spirit of God in the world. If you are excited by the work of Christ in the world, and aren’t sure what’s next, Unco is a great place to have that conversation. More than once someone who has come to Unco with the seed of an idea, or not even yet a seed, has gone away and started something new. Maybe right away, maybe a few years down the road, new ministries, resurrected ministries, simply new ideas in an old system.

It’s powerful, it’s Christ-filled, and it’s real. If you need something like that, join us at Unco for some of these life-giving conversations. We’ll see you there.

Next Unco dates: May 16-18, 2016, at Stony Point Center in Stony Point, NY. October (dates tba), 2016, at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA.

Worship Times is a Worship Leader Magazine Editor’s Pick for 2015

Worship Leader Magazine 2015 Editor's PickWe are delighted to announce that, for the second year in a row, Worship Times has been named as a 2015 Worship Leader Magazine Editor’s Pick for Web Developer!

Our passion for digital ministry comes from our excitement in working with customers who are passionate about sharing the Gospel through their particular experiences and stories. We couldn’t do what we do without the creativity and love of ministry we see in our members.

Being chosen again as an Editor’s Pick by Worship Leader Magazine reaffirms our commitment to the work we do together, and energizes us for future collaborations with churches and other ministries.

In the next year, we will continue to focus on and strengthen our digital ministry solutions for ministries and non-profits. If you are thinking about a new or refreshed website, or a new ministry project using digital media, let us know – we’d love to work with you to make your dreams a reality.

Let us help take your website to the next level, or go beyond your website, and explore:

  • Overall Communication Strategies
  • Digital Outreach
  • Podcasting
  • Social Media
  • Content Creation – Written, Audio, Video
  • Accessibility – How can you be welcoming to all?

And so much more. What are your needs and dreams? We’d love to help.

Thou Shalt Ask for Help

EditorsPick_2014_200The team at Worship Times is dedicated to empowering congregations developing their church websites and digital presence. On November 1 Worship Times was named one of Worship Leader Magazine’s Editor’s Pick for web development (read more here). So for the next couple of weeks we will be presenting what we consider to be the 10 Commandments for Church Websites. If you have further questions or want to learn more about Worship Times, please feel free to email us.

10th Commandment for Church Websites

Thou shalt ask for help

As scripture reminds us, the Body of Christ has many parts; and we all serve a different roles in ministries. Don’t be afraid to ask someone who is tech-savvy for help.

Worship Time has a bunch of staff members who specialize in support who would be happy to help. Contact us at [email protected] and keep an eye on our blog.

Download all 10 Commandments for Church Websites here.

9. Thou shalt focus on ministry 

8. Thou shalt keep they calendar up to date

7. Thou shalt be thoughtful about using social media

6. Thy website is never done

5. Thy website shalt be mobile friendly

4. Thou shalt keep it short

3. Thou shalt use pictures that show thy community in action

2. Thou shalt be on thy website who God is calling thou to be in the world

1. Thou shalt put needed info right up front

Worship Times named Editor’s Pick

EditorsPick_2014_200Worship Leader Magazine has named Worship Times as one of its 2014 Editor’s Pick for web development.

Worship Times is a team of congregational leaders, and we are honored to be featured in this trusted resource for congregational leaders. Several team members have seminary degrees. Owner Michael Gyura credits a particularly memorable class in seminary as the moment when the idea for Worship Times was born: easy-to-use websites for congregations by congregational leaders who understand the challenges facing the church today.

We know designing a website can be a challenge, and we offer multiple themed templates that are easy to customize to your church’s unique identity.

We know that assessing your current website can be a challenge, and we offer a free website review where one of our talented team members will help you figure out what you’d like to see changed.

We know budget is a challenge, and we offer several options for pricing. If you’re a smaller church or church plant, we will make sure that Worship Times is affordable for your community. (Contact us for more.)

We know that congregational leaders have stressed schedules, and we offer multiple ways to get your questions answered to fit those schedules.

We know that technology in church can be a challenge, and we write an ongoing blog related to those issues.

We know visualizing your site with a Worship Times template can be a challenge, and we offer a 30 day free trial.

We’re here to help you. Questions? Comments? Want to get in touch? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You can email us or use this contact form or call us at (888) 442-8731.

About Our Community

This post was originally published as part of WordCamp Nashville (2014), which Worship Times sponsored.

missionsOur community includes a variety of groups from small churches to large nonprofit organizations.

Some have been established for hundreds of years, and some are just starting out. Some just need the basics. They wanted a simple website that highlights the most important information about the church.

Some members of our community, like the First Presbyterian Church of Nashville, want a traditional look with a compelling platform to be able to share their ministry with their worshiping and local communities. We also pitched in to provide high quality photography.

And some groups just need something specialized like LEAD–a non-profit focused on church leadership development. They needed a site to that combined the 4 colors representing the 4 main areas they work in in order to showcase the resources they have for all these areas without having an overcrowded or over-complicated website. We made a colorful but distinct homepage and Pinterest-style boxes on their resource pages so that users can quickly scan for all the info they need.

Working with Worship Times is joining a community. We’re pretty active on Twitter joining in conversations and linking to useful resources. All members of our community are encouraged to jump in on conversations, ask questions, and share ideas. The combined creativity of our community and our staff inspires us to constantly do things we’ve never done before.

Together our community helps small churches and big nonprofits and every kind of ministry in between. We know the pressures of 21st century ministry at the small church level, the big nonprofit level, and lots in between. We have the skills to handle any size job. But at the end of the day this is a ministry for us to support the ministries of others.

Take a look at our designs (we have some new ones!) and the features we offer for your website, and if you’d like to join our community contact us.