Getting Started with Church+

Introduction

This tutorial will help you through the basic process of downloading the Church+ theme from your WPforChurch.com account and installing it on your new church website including how to setup your site to look like the demo (well almost, hopefully your site will be a little more unique than that).

Click to expand the section below in order or just skip to the ones you need help with.

Download Theme & Plugin Files

After you have subscribed to the Pro Church Plan, you will receive an email with links to download the files. Click the link for Church+ theme.

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Alternatively, you can login and visit your account page at https://www.wpforchurch.com/account/ and choose the “View Details and Downloads link” under the “Payment History” tab.account_links

View your license by clicking “View Licenses”. We’ll be using this for activation, support, and updates with the WP for Church Sidekick plugin (which you need to download as well for installation later). 

Install Church+ Theme

Now that our files are downloaded, we are ready to install them into WordPress. Navigate to your site’s login page and login. Typically, you can go to http://yoursite.com/wp-login.php (remember to replace “yoursite.com” with your site’s actual url)

You can upload Church+ starting at Appearance > Themes…

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…and clicking “Add New” and then again “Upload Theme” (both of these buttons appear at the top of the screen). Drag and drop the “church-plus.zip” file here or choose the file by clicking “Choose File” and then once located Click “Install Now”

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NOTE: You will notice during the installation process that WordPress installs the Omega theme as the parent theme and Church+ as a child theme. This is important to note if you plan to make any customizations to Church+ as a child theme since it is already a child theme.

After WordPress does the heavy lifting of installing, simply click “Activate”.

Once activated, you’ll see a notice for recommended plugins. You need to install these at this time. Here is a screenshot of what this screen might look like. Make sure to install & activate all of these. If you skip this step your site will not look like the demo!

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If for some reason you lose track of this list or dismiss the notice for required plugins, you can always relocate it by navigating from the dashboard to appearance > install plugins.

Setup the Home Page

If you already have a homepage setup there is nothing special you need to do. You do not need any content on your homepage; however, if you do add content it will display immediately above the footer. On the demo, for example, the only content from the “home page” is the embedded “Church of Type” video.

If you don’t have an empty page reserved as your homepage create one now. From the WordPress dashboard navigate to Pages > Add New. No text or other edits are needed. Publish this page and move on to the next step. 

Create an Image or Video slideshow using Soliloquy

Soliloquy is one of the required plugins that should have been installed during the first step. If you skipped this step, install Soliloquy now by clicking on the appropriate link in the plugin notice that appears in your dashboard (if you already dismissed this notice, you can relocate the list of required plugins from the dashboard > appearance > install plugins).

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Creating a slideshow (or “slider” as it is called by Soliloquy) is very simple. From the dashboard menu navigate to Soliloquy > Add New.

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A slideshow (a.k.a. “slider”) is made up of individual slides (images or videos). You can add image slides by “drag and drop” or upload them manually by clicking the button “select images.” To add a video slide click on the long blue button “insert slides from other sources” and enter the video embed URL on the appropriate tab.

soliloquy_slideshow

In the illustration above, I have added two images and their thumbnails are displayed at the bottom. To remove slides from the slider just click on the red x over the thumbnail.

NOTE: Always use images at least 1150 px wide so that they fit the container at maximum width. Also, the default width of the soliloquy slider is 960 so you must change that setting to 1150 px on the Config tab of the slider settings.soliloquy_settings

To add your slideshow the homepage you will use a widget which we will cover in the next section. However, if you wished to add a slider to any other location on your site simply use the appropriate short code displayed on the slider list view.

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Customize Your Site

Launch the customizer from the dashboard menu Appearance > Customize. There are several important options to change so let’s work through them one at a time.

Branding: Enter your church name and a tagline (motto, etc.)

Header Image: Like having a default featured image for a every page, this image will display on the top of every page unless a featured image is set for that page.

Menus choose your Primary menu from available menus you’ve created. If you’re building your site form scratch you’ll need to come back to this after you’ve finished creating content and menus.

Widgets drive the layout of the site in the Church+ theme, especially the home page. To do justice to these instructions I am going to cover them separately in the “Widgets” section later.

Static Front Page Select the radio button “a static page” and then set the “Front Page” to be the home page that you created earlier in this tutorial. If you intend to have a blog on your church website (i.e. Pastor’s Blog or Church News) you may select that page as the “Posts Page”  and it will serve as the blog post archive page.

Footer: modify your church copyright notice and remove the text advertisement for themehall.com or replace with something else that is pertinent like your church address or telephone number.

Configuring Widgets

Church+ is a “widget-driven theme” meaning that widgets control the layout of theme–especially the homepage. Configuring the widgets in the customizer is a multi-step process so we will go through them one at a time.

Primary: If you kept your “static front page” devoid of content you should leave this widget alone; however, If you have any content in your “static front page” you should add something to this widget area to balance the page. For example, on the demo site this area contains the “Recent Posts” widget.

Header Right is the area across from the site title at the top of the page. On the demo site this contains the Bible verse from Hebrews. A text widget works well here. By default text is displayed on one line so if you want to display a multi-line Bible verse check the box to automatically add paragraphs and then add paragraph breaks to your text too.

Home Banner: this is where you add the Soliloquy slideshow widget. Once added from the widget list simply select the home page slider in the drop-down menu.

Home Intro is for a text widget that introduces people to your site. On the demo this contains the Merry Christmas and Happy New Year greeting. If you want the large font like the demo be sure to wrap your text in H2 tags like this: <h2>Merry Christmas!</h2>

Home Featured: Your image links go here (three total). Add the image widgets one at a time by choosing the image widget from the list, choosing an image from the library and then link it to the appropriate page. The demo site features text descriptions underneath each one but ideally your image links should have text in the image already.

Footer 1 is the only footer widget that shows up in customizer until you populate that widget with something upon which the remaining 3 are available. These three or four footer widgets are a good place to put text widgets like your church address and service times or other widgets like announcements, events (Church Pack Pro) or recent sermons (Sermon Manager).

 

Congratulations! By this time your church website should resemble the Church+ demo site at least in design. Start filling in your site with quality content like church information, media and sermons and you will be well on your way to a sharp looking church website.

If you have any questions please contact us.