Church websites have evolved immensely over recent years with the introduction of social media and advancement of web technology and standards. Most churches have realized that in order to reach out to the world, they cannot neglect the importance of the Internet. Eventually, it is the fastest and easiest way to reach out to millions of potential believers worldwide if they hold a web kingdom.
Most Christians try to attend church sessions regularly but there is always an exception. So what they can do is to log on to their church’s website and “attend” the service online. Though it may not be a good sign but statistics have revealed fewer people are attending church weekly. Non-believers will also have a chance to know more about certain churches and their philosophy by visiting their website.
Church web designers face a massive challenge. They need to create beautiful and polished interactive experiences that retain humility and communicate spirituality, all without appearing superficial. Church web designs are no longer narrow-minded nor viewed as a taboo. So what makes a good church website and what are the factors that make it a success?
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might."
- Ecclesiastes 9:10
Stay with us and we will try to dissect the most popular and successful church websites around today. We pray that the information will assist web designers in their next church website design.
PS: You do not need to be a Christian to view them!
Church Modern Web Design Trends
As far as web design is concerned, churches have come a long way in recent years. It was not until several years ago that most church websites are considered outdated and behind the times. Fortunately, there are a growing number of churches today that have realized the importance of their web presence. One possible reason may be that the churches have gained members who are working designers. Church websites no longer have to be boring, filled with mainly white colour themes or dull preaching words. Many designers have made use of lively colours, exciting typography and intriguing images to enhance the once traditional trend.
Inclusion of Technology
Sermon streaming, online tithing and donations, church calendars, photo galleries and content management systems are just some examples of the many functions of modern church websites. The embracing of these functions will ensure that the management of the church becomes much more effective and productive, allowing the pastors to concentrate on other matters like producing good sermons.
Church of Christ The King
A video speaks a million words. CCK has several large videos that welcome visitors when they first visit the site. The site also has a login feature for their members.
Great Layout & Arrangement
Most church sites have a lot of content and information that needs to be displayed to their visitors. Some information includes service details, a location map and news highlights. Each part of these important details are arranged nicely and presented to their visitors. Furthermore, churches will also need to have a site which is easy to navigate so that visitors would not need to waste time figuring out any overly complex navigation.
City Harvest Church Singapore
City Harvest Church Singapore has a great layout with all the important information at a glance. Easy navigation also makes it useful for first time visitors who want to know more about them. The church however also manages to retain a minimalistic and white design theme.
Their important information is neatly arranged in specific sections and makes it easy for visitors to navigate the website.
Everyone loves good and inspiring photographs. A gallery can be used to showcase lovely moments captured in photographs during the services, prayer sessions or sermons for visitors to appreciate. Church may be intimidating to non believers, but photo galleries is a unaggressive way to allow first time visitors to get a sneak preview of what to expect before they decide to personally attend services at the church.
Abundant Living Faith Center
The picture gallery provides exciting and enticing pictures of the services held at the church.
St Andrews Presbyterian Church
The website has a beautiful gallery with some interesting and cheerful photographs.
Getting Connected with Social Networks
Social Media is not evil. Modern churches have added social media to connect with their younger members beyond the weekly services. This has become a must have for any online church websites. This allows members to get the latest updates easily but also enables them to reach out to their friends.
Four Corners Church
Social media at its best; Four Corners Church uses it to spread their message to all their members while keeping with the times.
Their website uses a beautiful textured background that blends in nicely with the colour theme of the church. 12Stone Church also enables you to stay connected with them through multiple popular social networking platforms.
Fresh Content & Active Interaction
Churches need to constantly update their content with their upcoming events and festive seasons. In order to do that, they require a content management system that is easy to use and understand. Most church websites use CMS to upload their content, images and can edit and track the information easily. Some church websites have become so interactive that they allow visitors to pray online with pastors, talk to pastors and worship leaders, and engage in live counselling or other forms of assistance with them.
Information is presented neatly so that visitors will not get lost while trying to navigate through the website.
Webcast, Podcast and Live Streaming
Podcasts and Webcasts have become increasingly popular. These interactive functions are great to have on any modern church websites as they are engaging and will give visitors a better idea of the church’s beliefs and environment. This will encourage visitors to peruse the website for longer periods of time. Live streaming of services also provide additional advantages for members who are not able to attend services in person.
The pod-cast function is the main attraction of the website on top of its gorgeous design.
Olive Baptist Church
You can watch the live streaming of the church service, or hear the latest sermon that is available at the Olive Baptist Church website.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO may not be as powerful as Social Media, but it is still something that churches should consider if they want visitors to easily find them on search engines. As such, church websites should not be fully built with Flash as it will hurt the SEO.
Church by the glades
This is a great example of how Flash has integrated perfectly with the normal HTML markup, yet without hurting the SEO.
First Baptist Ovideo
Easily located on major search engines, the First Baptist Ovideo website is a beautiful half Flash site with a nice gradient blue colour theme which gives visitors a renewed and refreshing feel. It is at the same time, easily located at major search engines.
Typography and Motivational Quotes
The use of exquisite typography also benefits church web designs. Visitors will be visually amazed by the typography used in the sites. Church websites often quote one or two versus from the bible, often termed as God’s words, on their websites’ main page that are inspirational and motivational. These quotes properly packaged with beautiful images and typography can be both spiritually enlightening for believers and pleasing to the eye of non-believers.
Windsor Crossing Community Church
A combination of brilliant graphic design elements with a well chosen bible verse at the top of the site attracts both believers and non-believers alike.
The clever use of a dark coloured theme and striking typography makes this website stand out from the rest.
Showcase of Web 2.0 Church Websites
Many websites follow a design model labelled as the Web 2.0 concept. Some of the Web 2.0 design elements consist of simplicity of design, centered design, variation of font sizes, new age logos, blunt and rounded edges, as well as glossy, gradient and shiny effects. Church web design is no exception in terms of Web 2.0 design. Here are some websites that fit into this category.
Abundant Life Christian Center
The website has nice glossy buttons, round edges, and the background colour shading gives the site a Web 2.0 look.
Christ's Church of the Valley
Their website’s balanced mix of gradient, shadow and shiny effects is another example of a Web 2.0 design.
Christ Fellowship Church
A nice blend of green and dark brown gives the site a down to earth feel.
Church on the move
The nice blend of blue and black colours with gradient effects give the site a modern and sophisticated look.
City of Grace
The church has two campuses which allow members to have log in access with round edges and glossy buttons.
This site experiments with the interesting use of the collage and graphic elements, with a grunge and textured background.
The black and white combination has never worked as well as it does in this church website on top of the additional use of Web 2.0 elements.
A clean and simple design has been the doctrine of many modern churches.
Istrouma Baptist Church
Their large horizontal scrolling image is the church website’s greatest attraction.
James River Assembly Church
Another great example of the gradient and round edge design element, the site is obviously walking down the path of Web 2.0.
This site makes use of a nice blend of blue, lime green and brown colours.
The huge video on the front page captures the attention of visitors attracting high visitor traffic.
The layout of the site is simple but visually effective.
Long Hollow Baptist Church
This is another classic example of the use of Web 2.0 in church designs.
Mars Hill Church
Its greatest positive point is the easy navigation and the unique dark theme of the church website.
Mission Community Church
The navigation menu is listed out in an obvious location making it easy to locate.
North Coast Church
This website uses TYPO3 which is a free open source content management system to manage the site.
Northpoint Community Church
Easy and fun to use, the hover tabs makes the navigation on the site more user friendly.
The Embassy of God
Their website uses many effects and has exciting features that will ‘wow’ visitors.
This website has a variety of interesting tabs on its navigation bar.
The good use of complementary colours and gradients makes it comfortable and pleasing to the eye.
Showcase of Creative Church Web Designs
These modern church websites not only give people a relaxing feel and calming effect, it also changes the perspective of how a traditional church website should be. Church websites have had such great improvements and changes that it is fast becoming a niche market comparable to other industry websites.
Access Lakeland Church
The wood texture and neat layout give visitors a viewing experience that’s soothing.
Bethany World Prayer Center
Bethany World Prayer Center has 3 campuses and preaches 3 main concepts; connect, grow and serve.
Brainerd Baptist Church
The large images on the website leave a deep impression on first time visitors.
Canyon Creek Church
The artistic design consisting of large images, creative badges and unique elements make the site interesting.
Their web design adopts a dark colour scheme which is interesting and unique.
The website’s nice black pattern background creates yet another interesting visual experience for visitors.
Church on the Rock
The wood texture, variety of fonts and graphic icons used give the site a vintage look and an artistic feel.
Using a new style of design, the website organises all the information into five columns with the flash feature only on the landing page.
CrossWalk Community Church
The website has a nice theme built with Joomla content management system.
The website has a clean and minimalistic design and uses an interesting picture to engage with visitors.
The cheerful and bright colour scheme also influences visitors to feel lively and energetic as well.
The simple and straight forward navigation does not confuse guests which is a plus.
This website design is one of my favourite. The background uses a beautiful large image that blends well with the other navigation boxes.
Although the site is fully flash based, its design is still noteworthy. It has a blog that links out of their church flash site. However, they can consider combining them together by making it a half flash site.
Wildwood First Church of God
An unique background using uneven paint washes, the website also uses dark and light shading to allow the eyes to focus on important sections.
The main navigation box in black fits nicely with the clean white background. The website also allows members to get updated news via SMS, RSS, Twitter or E-mail provided by the Church.
The site has an interesting illustration of a human figure and it entirely built by Flash.
The great combination of font types and sizes creates an entertaining and engaging site.
Grace Community Church
The important information is prominently displayed in well places columns and boxes.
The large and lovely imagery as well as the colour scheme of the website give visitors a sense of peace allowing them to relax.
With an interesting church slogan, “a different way to do church”, the website attracts visitors with their simple layout and pretty images.
Hillcountry Bible Church
The clean and minimalistic design of this church website you’re sure to fall in love with.
The horizontal scrolling effect presents information to visitors without long loading times is a smart concept used for the website of this popular church.
The vibrant and colourful site is a reflection of what the church preaches.
The creative images used make the site a pleasant viewing experience despite it being a full Flash site.
Inner metro Green Church
The attractive background design, great use of typography, and matching colours with the logo demonstrates how these elements can work well together.
The website has a minimalistic and neat design with all the necessary functions a church site should have.
Kent Covenant Church
The login section doesn’t stand out from other churches, but the colour scheme is much more engaging that most others.
The site makes use of flickr to host their gallery of photographs.
The interesting accordion menu and account login puts the church in the frontier of technology.
Lawrence Wesleyan Church
This well designed church website is accredited to a design company outsourced by the church.
The artistic and minimalistic design has a very friendly interface.
Large images work well in web design. The images used in this website are no exception.
Park Community Church
This website makes use of ekklesia360 content management system to run the site.
The light and causal design gives visitors a sense of belonging, encouraging them to get in touch with their emotions.
River City Church
The unique background used in the website is attractive and allows it to stand out from the crowd.
This site has a great background images that uses both Flash and HTML markup.
The entire navigation menu is listed out in the footer of the site, which is interesting.
Shadow Mountain Community Church
The church has a plain and simple design that allows the focus to be on the large images.
This website makes good use of bubble tool tips box with its message series.
This church website is powered by SkyCMS.
Table Rock Fellowship
This website has features like the sermon player, link group and calendar that make this Flash site shine and stand out above the rest.
Despite the language of the website being in Greek, the medieval and traditional design of the site is unique and attractive.
Trinity Fellowship Church
The neat and clean design, together with the well displayed information allows visitors to easily navigate and understand the content.
Metropolitan Baptist Church
Rock Church San Diego
The use of the black textured background and navigation bar ensures that visitors can easily find what they are looking for.
The Village Church
The pleasant looking design header immediately attracts the attention of visitors.
Valley Creek Church
Extra vertical tabs on the left were added to highlight their message.
The red colour scheme used in this site gives visitors a sense of the liveliness and enthusiasm present in the church.
WaterMark Community Church
This is another excellent example of how well Flash can be combined with HTML to produce a wonderful website.
Willow Creek Community Church
The website uses Flash to display large and engaging images without affecting the other contents.
New Creation Church
This clean cut site uses Joomla CMS enhanced with jQuery ad MooTools to give a comprehensive experience to their visitors.
These modern church web designs clearly show that bold creativity can co-exist with church culture without compromising their core values or tainting the role of the church. However, every designer’s priority should still be to maintain authenticity and create an honest reflection of the church’s values, rather than to try and trendy, just for the sake of being hip and to be noticed.
Is your church website listed above? Do you think your church should be a part of this list? Share them with us in the comment box below.