Getting Started With Cornerstone

This setup guide is also available for direct download


Cornerstone is a theme for church. The design and feature set for Cornerstone is built upon the insider knowledge of a church office. We wanted to give you something that would both be productive now and something that would provide the base for themes to build on top of in the future. So Cornerstone is a first step as a theme and theme framework for church websites.

Download Theme & Plugin Files

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


Alternatively, you can login and visit your account page at 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).

NOTE: Both the Cornerstone theme and documentation are included in the compressed zip file named “” so make sure that you do not upload the original zip file download as-is or it will not install correctly. 

Install Cornerstone 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 (remember to replace “” with your site’s actual url)

You can upload Cornerstone starting at Appearance > Themes…


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


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

Once activated, you’ll see a notice for recommended plugins. We will cover these in-depth later but for right now we need to install the WP for Church Sidekick which you should have downloaded earlier.

Install Sidekick (Updater & License Manager)

Navigate to Plugins > Add Newplugins_add_new

Near the top of the screen click “Upload Plugin” and upload the WP for Church Sidekick zip file. Click “Install Now”, and on the following screen, click “Activate Plugin”.

Once Activated, you can enter your license key(s) at WP for Church > Manage Licenses.

Note: You will not receive any updates unlesss you save and activate your licenses. If you do not have a licensed copy you may still use our products but for security management and support, please purchase a license.

Setup the Home Page

If you don’t already have a page designated as your homepage create one now. From the WordPress dashboard navigate to Pages > Add New. The only thing you need do on the homepage is change the template style to “Home Page” from the Templates drop-down.


The home page template makes any text you write on the page display just below the sermon section on the Home Page (the sermon section displays the most recent sermon).

At this point your home page is done but a preview of your site will not look demo at all. We will take care of everything else in the last step using the customizer. 

Customize Your Site

This is where the magic happens!

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.


Site Identity: Enter your church name and a tagline (motto, etc.) If you use a logo image on your header (recommended) this information is strictly for your broswer and the search engines.

Logo Image: We highly recommend you use a logo image instead of text for your header. The demo site features a logo image which is 255px x 102px as an example.

Service Times display prominently on the home page

Connect: add your church’s Twitter and/or Facebook urls here. If you do not enter anything no icons will appear.

Custom Footer Text allows you the option of changing the right footer (default is “Theme by WP for Church”)

Menus gives you access to create both Primary menus (displayed in the header next to the logo) and Footer menus (displayed towards the bottom of the page).

Widgets have two options: Home and Footer. The Home widget displays beneath the home page text near the bottom of the page. In the demo we use this widget to display three attractive image links (announcements, gospel, prayer). It is recommended to use three widgets to take advantage of the three column layout in this area. The Footer widget is a four column layout located–as you might guess–at the bottom of every page.

Static Front Page is the most important option even though it is last. Select the radio button “a static page” and then set the “Front Page” to be the home page that you just created earlier. If you intend to have a blog on your church website (i.e. Pastor’s Blog or Church News) you select that page as the “Posts Page”

NOTE: If you like the layout of the cornerstone demo site and would like to import the demo content into your site as filler, you can download the export file here. During import, make sure to check the option to download and import media attachments so that all of the images are included.

Complimentary Plugins

To take advantage of all the great features of Cornerstone, we recommend installing all of the complimentary plugins available in the Pro Church Plan at WP for Church. Here are several that go well with Cornerstone and are actually incorporated in the demo: