Dissection of Holy Websites: Modern Church Web Design Trends & 88 Inspiration

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.

Church Web Design

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 It was not until several years ago that most church websites are considered outdated and behind the times.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.

Central Christian Church
This site has a countdown timer and video streaming. It also makes use of Clicky, a web analytic to monitor their website.

Centralchristian

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.

Cck

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.

City Harvest Church Singapore

Planetshakers
Their important information is neatly arranged in specific sections and makes it easy for visitors to navigate the website.

Planetshakers

Photo Gallery

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.

Alfc

St Andrews Presbyterian Church
The website has a beautiful gallery with some interesting and cheerful photographs.

Standrewsmtairy

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.

4cornerschurch

12Stone Church
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.

12stone

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.

Cottonwood Church
Information is presented neatly so that visitors will not get lost while trying to navigate through the website.

Cottonwood

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.

Revolution
The pod-cast function is the main attraction of the website on top of its gorgeous design.

Kcrevolution

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.

Olivebaptist

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.

Cbglades

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.

Fbcoviedo

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.

Wcrossing

HingePoint Church
The clever use of a dark coloured theme and striking typography makes this website stand out from the rest.

Hingepoint

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.

Alcclife

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.

Ccvonline

Christ Fellowship Church
A nice blend of green and dark brown gives the site a down to earth feel.

Christ Fellowship

Church on the move
The nice blend of blue and black colours with gradient effects give the site a modern and sophisticated look.

Church on the move

City of Grace
The church has two campuses which allow members to have log in access with round edges and glossy buttons.

Cityofgrace

Edgepoint Church
This site experiments with the interesting use of the collage and graphic elements, with a grunge and textured background.

Edgepointchurch

Elevation Church
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.

Elevationchurch

Highpoint Church
A clean and simple design has been the doctrine of many modern churches.

Highpointmemphis

Istrouma Baptist Church
Their large horizontal scrolling image is the church website’s greatest attraction.

Istrouma

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.

Jamesriver

Kingsfield Church
This site makes use of a nice blend of blue, lime green and brown colours.

Kingsfield Church

LifePoint Church
The huge video on the front page captures the attention of visitors attracting high visitor traffic.

Lifepointchurch

Lifepoint
The layout of the site is simple but visually effective.

Lifepointnow

Long Hollow Baptist Church
This is another classic example of the use of Web 2.0 in church designs.

Long Hollow

Mars Hill Church
Its greatest positive point is the easy navigation and the unique dark theme of the church website.

Marshill Church

Mission Community Church
The navigation menu is listed out in an obvious location making it easy to locate.

Mission68

North Coast Church
This website uses TYPO3 which is a free open source content management system to manage the site.

Northcoast Church

Northpoint Community Church
Easy and fun to use, the hover tabs makes the navigation on the site more user friendly.

Northpoint

The Embassy of God
Their website uses many effects and has exciting features that will ‘wow’ visitors.

Theembassyofgod

One Church
This website has a variety of interesting tabs on its navigation bar.

Onespokane

The Chapel
The good use of complementary colours and gradients makes it comfortable and pleasing to the eye.

Chapel

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.

Accesslakeland

Bethany World Prayer Center
Bethany World Prayer Center has 3 campuses and preaches 3 main concepts; connect, grow and serve.

Bethany

Brainerd Baptist Church
The large images on the website leave a deep impression on first time visitors.

Brainerd Baptist

Canyon Creek Church
The artistic design consisting of large images, creative badges and unique elements make the site interesting.

Canyon Creek Online

City Church
Their web design adopts a dark colour scheme which is interesting and unique.

City Church

Hope Center
The website’s nice black pattern background creates yet another interesting visual experience for visitors.

Come Get Hope

Church on the Rock
The wood texture, variety of fonts and graphic icons used give the site a vintage look and an artistic feel.

Cotr

Crosspointe Church
Using a new style of design, the website organises all the information into five columns with the flash feature only on the landing page.

Crosspointe

CrossWalk Community Church
The website has a nice theme built with Joomla content management system.

Crosswalk

Cornerstone Chandler
The website has a clean and minimalistic design and uses an interesting picture to engage with visitors.

Cschandler

Discovery Church
The cheerful and bright colour scheme also influences visitors to feel lively and energetic as well.

Discoverychurch

Eastlake Church
The simple and straight forward navigation does not confuse guests which is a plus.

Eastlakechurch

Eastpoint Church
This website design is one of my favourite. The background uses a beautiful large image that blends well with the other navigation boxes.

Eastpoint

Echo Church
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.

Echo Church

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.

Fcog

Fellowship Church
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.

Fellowshipchurch

Friends Church
The site has an interesting illustration of a human figure and it entirely built by Flash.

Friends Church

Gateway Church
The great combination of font types and sizes creates an entertaining and engaging site.

Gateway Church

Grace Community Church
The important information is prominently displayed in well places columns and boxes.

Gcomchurch

Generate Life
The large and lovely imagery as well as the colour scheme of the website give visitors a sense of peace allowing them to relax.

Generate Life

Heartland Church
With an interesting church slogan, “a different way to do church”, the website attracts visitors with their simple layout and pretty images.

Heartland

Hillcountry Bible Church
The clean and minimalistic design of this church website you’re sure to fall in love with.

Hillcountryut

Hillsong Church
The horizontal scrolling effect presents information to visitors without long loading times is a smart concept used for the website of this popular church.

Hillsong

Hightpoint Church
The vibrant and colourful site is a reflection of what the church preaches.

Highpoint Church

Watermark Church
The creative images used make the site a pleasant viewing experience despite it being a full Flash site.

Iammarked

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.

Innermetrogreen

Kaleo Church
The website has a minimalistic and neat design with all the necessary functions a church site should have.

Kaleo Church

Kent Covenant Church
The login section doesn’t stand out from other churches, but the colour scheme is much more engaging that most others.

Kentcov

Keystone Church
The site makes use of flickr to host their gallery of photographs.

Keystonechurch

Life Church
The interesting accordion menu and account login puts the church in the frontier of technology.

Lifechurch

Lawrence Wesleyan Church
This well designed church website is accredited to a design company outsourced by the church.

Lwchurch

Marshill
The artistic and minimalistic design has a very friendly interface.

Marshill

Northside Christian
Large images work well in web design. The images used in this website are no exception.

Northside

Park Community Church
This website makes use of ekklesia360 content management system to run the site.

Park Community Church

Passage Church
The light and causal design gives visitors a sense of belonging, encouraging them to get in touch with their emotions.

Passagechurch

River City Church
The unique background used in the website is attractive and allows it to stand out from the crowd.

Rccjax

Redrocks Church
This site has a great background images that uses both Flash and HTML markup.

Redrockschurch

Sanctuary
The entire navigation menu is listed out in the footer of the site, which is interesting.

Sanctuarycov

Shadow Mountain Community Church
The church has a plain and simple design that allows the focus to be on the large images.

Shadow Mountain

Southland
This website makes good use of bubble tool tips box with its message series.

Southland Christian

Sunrise Church
This church website is powered by SkyCMS.

Sunrise Church

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.

Table Rock Fellowship

Tempera
Despite the language of the website being in Greek, the medieval and traditional design of the site is unique and attractive.

Tempera

Trinity Fellowship Church
The neat and clean design, together with the well displayed information allows visitors to easily navigate and understand the content.

Tf Church

Metropolitan Baptist Church
This site uses open and close JavaScript effect effectively.

Themetonline

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 Rock San Diego

The Village Church
The pleasant looking design header immediately attracts the attention of visitors.

The Village Church

Valley Creek Church
Extra vertical tabs on the left were added to highlight their message.

Valley Creek

Vintage Church
The red colour scheme used in this site gives visitors a sense of the liveliness and enthusiasm present in the church.

Vintage Lawrence

WaterMark Community Church
This is another excellent example of how well Flash can be combined with HTML to produce a wonderful website.

Watermark

Willow Creek Community Church
The website uses Flash to display large and engaging images without affecting the other contents.

Willow Creek

New Creation Church
This clean cut site uses Joomla CMS enhanced with jQuery ad MooTools to give a comprehensive experience to their visitors.

New Creation Church

Feeling Holy?

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.

Aidan Huang is a web enthusiast and ingenious blogger who loves all things design, interesting and technology. He is the editor-in-chief at Onextrapixel and have founded several other interesting blogs. Do keep in touch with him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Comments

    • casey,
    • November 10, 2009
    / Reply

    Holy awesome list! Great roundup!!

    • Freddie L. Sirmans Sr.,
    • November 10, 2009
    / Reply

    You have a very informative blog that offer a lot of great ideas.

  1. / Reply

    Very nice websites!

  2. / Reply

    Under the bonnet(hood)…

    Hi Aidan – thanks for the name check for the Church of Christ the King (CCK) site : )

    We’ve had some great feedback for this design – what you won’t have seen is the _Member_ Home page layout.

    The system recognises previously logged in site members and can display different page elements (or a completely different home page) to them.

    To view the CCK Member home page, see the first screenshot on this page:

    http://www.cck.org.uk/membershomepage

    This ‘Audiences’ feature handles the old problem that if you aim your website at standard answers for visitors – make a great impression, present who you are, where you meet, when and what happens to my kids? – then members feel the site isn’t for them and never changes.

    Go the other way and focus on members, with all the stuff and detail of church life which they want to see, and it’s really confusing for new people.

    This enables you to give targeted, different home pages, highly relevant to each audience. I’m biased, but I think it’s very cool : )

    Al

    PS I work for Endis, who produce ChurchInsight, and also partly for CCK here in Brighton, UK, where I’m a member and part of the Communications Team

      • Aidan,
      • November 10, 2009
      / Reply

      Hi Birch,

      It seems like the link you provide has been redirected to your endis site. Could you rectified it if not we will have to remove the link.

      1. / Reply

        Hi Aidan, link in post below – I can’t edit the post.

        By the way, meant to say that this is a very helpful overview of what’s going on in church website design, particularly in the US. Well done : )

        NB another impressive user of video is Mars Hill Church in Seattle: http://www.marshillchurch.org

        We’re also finding an increasingly number of churches in the UK are waking up to how important it is to invest in communicating their message well in this way.

        Design over here on this side of the pond has a different feel to it, but there’s strong influence from the kind of designs you’ve highlighted.

          • Aidan,
          • November 10, 2009
          / Reply

          Hi Birch,

          We had included Mars Hill Church in the list already, perhaps you have overlook it.

          Thanks for your interesting viewpoint. Meanwhile I have replaced your previous link to the one you have mentioned.

          1. /

            Thanks Aidan – strange – I scanned through twice and missed Mars Hill. Doh! – But great you were on to it and have it already : )

            It’s critical with a website design that a church thinks through: What are the things we want to say to new folks (both inside and outside the faith) and to folks inside – they’re very different messages and confusing them can be unhelpful.

            Trying to look with unchurched eyes (those of the target ‘market’ if you think in those terms) at your web site design is a real challenge and worthy of some effort.

            E.g. Seeing loads of people in very lively atmosphere, hands raised in the air, deeply engaged in worship can be very moving in real life – but showing photos and/or video of that can just look _really_ weird to an outsider (woh, are those Nazi salutes?!). We have to think differently.

            Providing simple informational doorways about the church and the key message is also crucial.

            Also, I’ve heard of churches reviving the Guestbook (What?! I hear you say, didn’t I didn’t I ditch that along with flashing html text in 1998…?) as a way of allowing those not part of the church community to ask questions, make comments, request prayer – and begin a relational kind of engagement with the community. Social networking tools are helping with this too.

            • Aidan,
            • November 10, 2009
            /

            @Birch: Great information Birch! I believed you have enlightened much of our visitors when it comes to their next church web design.

            You probably have much more experience in the field of church web design and I totally agreed with the pointers you’ve mentioned.

            One thing to note though, most church has outsourced most of their web design to design firm rather than free lancers which maybe using the same templates for their church.

          2. /

            Thanks Aidan : ) Re working with external designers: I think the important thing is to either have a really clear idea of what you want (having gone through the thinking-through/audience/message process I mentioned above) if you’re working with a non-church background designer, or teaming up with someone who understands the particular needs and challenges which churches face when they’re trying to communicate (that’s not an oblique advert by the way!).

            Either way, stopping and thinking about what you’re trying to do, what you want to communicate – and who to – is the big thing most organisations (including churches) DON’T do and should!

  3. / Reply

    Pls can you work on our site improve on it.www.mfm-ireland.org

  4. / Reply

    Apologies, didn’t know that kind of link wasn’t acceptable, and that was the only place to see it – I’ve now moved the screenshot to the CCK site

  5. / Reply

    Hi and thanks for great list!

    Just wanted to mention the Leeds Universities Catholic Chaplaincy website, which was redesigned recently: http://www.uilcc.org

    • Shaun,
    • November 10, 2009
    / Reply

    Find these blogs very helpful as I’m new to this ie just a hobby. Have re-designed our church website which is my first try at web design:
    http://www.kingswaychristianfellowship.com
    Not quite up to the standards set above but looks ok I think!

  6. / Reply

    Great blog. This is my second trip back for another look.

  7. / Reply

    Hey guys! Thanks for including our work on your summary! We are proud to see Church of Christ the King in your list.

  8. / Reply

    Thanks for showcasing our Canyon Creek Church in your list. We worked very hard on it, and considering that this was the first time this three-person team worked on the site, we’re extremely proud of how God brought us together and helped us deliver a website our congregation can be proud of.

    We’re still working hard on the website, so any suggestions or constructive criticism is welcome!

  9. / Reply

    very nice websites i like, thanks for share..

  10. / Reply

    I just redesigned my church’s website back in August: http://thewellcommunity.org

    …and one of my co-workers redesigned this church website a few weeks ago: http://www.trinitypres.com

    • sebastian,
    • November 27, 2009
    / Reply

    great designs there. but it seems strange in what direction the presentations are going. the pastors are presented like rockstars and some of the sites would fit for a techno club or rockconcert.

    im an atheist and a little worried how big thoses communities get and the messages that they transport. there is some peace and love involved, yes. but most of them think they have the only truth and that all non-believers are wrong and will go to hell. thats dangerous thinking.

    when i see how those people are screaming and acting like in trance, they might do anything that their rockstar pastor is telling them.

    the designs are still good though :)

    • Mia,
    • December 8, 2009
    / Reply

    All I can say is : WOW ! I believe you have managed to cover just about every church out there ( and I wasnt even aware that God is now on the www ! :D ) but I guess there goes the old adage : ” God is everywhere & speaks to us through various channels ” – now why wouldnt God be on top of things and not be ‘ Online ‘ ( literally :D ) Thank you for posting all of these great sites ( have def bookmarked your site ) – you provide some amazing content ! Wishing you much future success within your life & career endeavors . Best wishes & many *blessings*

    M.

      • Aidan,
      • December 8, 2009
      / Reply

      Hi Mia,

      It is so heartening to hear such encouraging words from you. The world has changed so much that negatively and hostility has blinded us in most of our thing we do.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • samantha,
    • March 25, 2010
    / Reply

    this is a great list! my church’s website is pretty sweet too, haha! metrosouthchurch.com
    :)

    • Crazguy,
    • November 18, 2010
    / Reply

    Excellent collections. Thanks for the great work.

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