Latest Changes

v3.1.13October 11, 2023

Due to some changes in the YouTube API, we had to re-work a few things in our sermon autopublishing feature. (That’s right, you can automatically publish sermons from videos on your YouTube channel… neat, eh?) Anyhow, automatically importing the latest video as a sermon is now fixed, so be sure to take a look at your sermons and see the magic! Also, you might want to make sure we didn’t miss any over the last few weeks while things were a little buggy.

v3.1.12October 2, 2023

Recently, we had a few clients who have noticed some issues with their events calendar. Upon further investigation, we found out that it was due to some compatibility issues with the caching system we have on our server. We just pushed out an update to the server that will ensure that the cache is bypassed on all event pages.

P.S. If you’d like to know how to disable the cache on specific pages (and also get a sneak peek at our new user guide) you can see the guide here:

https://digitalchurch.guide/forms/disable-cache-on-payment-forms

v3.1.11September 20, 2023

When adding a new person, we only supported fields for First and Last names. It seemed like that was a good place to start, but we really needed to be able to add prefix and suffix for certain clients. (now paging The Reverend Doctor…) So we did it. Now you can add prefix or suffix to your people. We’ve also updated the new team_members shortcode so that it lists people with those pre/suffixes as well. And we’ve updated the person themer layout in our templates.

If you have a site that was spun up before today, feel free to jump into chat and we’ll be happy to update your person themer layout as well. (The person themer layout is just a fancy way to say the bio page.) You can also download the import file below if you’d like to try to do it on your own.

That’s it for now!

v3.1.10September 12, 2023

You know those times you get an email that somebody filled out a form on your website, but you aren’t really sure what the form was for? It would probably help for you to have a direct link to the form right in the email notification, right? Well, today that small-but-mighty improvement in form notifications is a reality!

Yep. That’s it for now. πŸ˜…

v3.1.9September 8, 2023

In this update, we added some new styles to the team_members shortcode that we rolled out last week. In some cases, clients had their heading tags set for larger sizes than needed, so this helps us to make sure the text sizes are more manageable.

We also added some options to enable/disable tabs in the live-tabs shortcode. You can now paste in a bible.com url to define where the Bible embed starts. This allows you to select whatever translation you want to use, or you can even have the embed start on a specific chapter or verse. Those settings can all be found in the livestream settings in your dashboard. There was also a minor scrolling issue in the Bible embed that we fixed.

v3.1.8September 1, 2023

In this release, we re-wrote our livestream tabs shortcode. The previous shortcode was using a framework called bootstrap that helped us create the functionality for the tabs, but with bootstrap came too much extra code that we didn’t need. In some cases, that bootstrap code was conflicting with other code in our system. Some users were seeing issues with smaller text sizes on their live page. So we’ve dumped bootstrap and rolled our own solution using code that is much less prone to conflict. It also makes the livestream page much faster to load.

You can use the new live-tabs shortcode anywhere on your site, but it’s really meant to act as a sidebar next to your livestream on your dedicated livestream page. It features five sections that we’ll explain below.

πŸ—’οΈ Notes

The notes section pulls the content out of your latest sermon. So if you’d like to allow your people to follow along with notes during your service, you’ll just pre-publish the sermon notes as post content. After the service, you can go back in to add the video. If you are auto-publishing your sermons from YouTube, you may need to go in and combine those posts later in the week.

πŸ’¬ Chat

The chat feature works with a third-party chat service. We’ve used Arena.im with some of our clients. (Psst: we’re working on building a native chat feature in the future.)

πŸ“• Bible

The Bible tab embeds a basic bible from YouVersion at bible.com. We’re working on a way to make it so you can set your own preferred translation.

❀️ Give

This simply displays your giving action, which could appear as a give button or as a form if you use our native form builder for online giving.

πŸ—“οΈ Events

This events tab lists the latest events. You must have The Events Calendar Pro active to use this, and we’re currently working on squishing some bugs with that, so you may see a shortcode error in the meantime. If you do, just let us know and we can manually override that error for you on your site.

v3.1.7August 31, 2023

For a while now, we’ve had to use some workarounds to display people who are members of teams. These workarounds included assigning people to the teams and then going in and assigning the matching team to the person as a taxonomy. We’ll admit, it was pretty clumsy. The more we dreamt about what our teams feature should look like, that has evolved over time to work better than it did at the outset. Now, you can define roles for each team, and then you can add people into those roles. You can also re-order the roles right in the team editor.

So what was a complicated system is pretty simple now. Just make sure your team members are added as people. Then you can edit the team and add them as members to specific roles.

With our new approach comes a new shortcode you can use. You can add the No team members found. shortcode to your team page (or even better, to the team member theme layout) and it will now display the members of that team in the order you used when you created the roles. You can also use the shortcode with a team_id argument on other pages around your site.

Some other preparations

In addition to this new shortcode, we’re starting to set the stage for a new product we call Messenger. It will begin as a simple email platform for you to email your users and people in your database. Later on, we’ll add text communication and in-site/in-app chat widget functionality. That’s all coming down the road.

We also added some code that we’re working on to enhance the dashboard experience. Just a quick preloader so you can feel like you’re heading somewhere important while the dashboard loads.

v3.1.6August 30, 2023

In this hot fix, we had to address a few issues with plugin conflicts between our metadata framework (Meta Box) and our page builder (Beaver Builder). This update added better breakpoint settings in the Page Builder, the ability to add custom CSS/JS to specific modules, and better handling for row background videos using Vimeo.

v3.1.0August 1, 2023

Digital Church Platform has integrated with other platforms and services since the very beginning, but often times, those integrations were hard to identify because they were baked into specific features. For instance, in our giving settings page, you could select a giving provider to use with your church website. Once it was setup, it would integrate that provider on any page that used the

shortcode.

Logos Bible Reftagger Integration

Recently, we decided that it was time to elevate our integrations and to begin to offer some specific features that could be applied to the whole site. One of those is the Logos Bible Reftagger. When you enable this feature, a script is included on every page of your website. It silently scans your content for bible references and if it finds any, it will automatically generate a link that opens the scripture up in a small pop-up window so users can see the reference for themselves.

You’ll be able to find the Logos Bible Reftagger integration in your dashboard, under Settings > Integrations. There, you can enable the integration and select a default translation from the options listed. Once you have it set, be sure to clear the cache by hovering over the lighting bolt in the top right corner of your dashboard and selecting the “Refresh All Pages” option. That should ensure that every page of your site is regenerated for visitors with the new integration active.

As always, be sure to test it out by visiting your website in a private or incognito window.

Planning Center Online Integration

In addition to the existing Planning Center Giving integration, we are now also offering a site-wide Planning Center integration. You’ll also find this on the Settings > Integrations page in your dashboard. With this integration, you can now add Planning Center Forms anywhere on your website by adding a link to the form and including a special URL handler to the end of the link to activate the form. Here’s a help guide we put together to explain exactly how to do it:

Add a Planning Center Form to my Website

v3.0.0March 30, 2023

Over the last year, we have been building and preparing to launch a new version of our Digital Church Platform that enables us to continue to build better features moving forward. Today, we are accouncing the release of Digital Church 3.0.

Noticable Changes

While this release focuses on the registration process for new accounts and the underlying architecture of our platform, there are a few small items you’ll notice that have been added recently. Here’s a rundown of what you may discover:

A New CSS Utility Class

We’ve begun setting up some more CSS utility classes for shadows. We’re using tailwind-css as a guide to add our own globally available CSS code for our templates that you can also use. You can reference those css classes in Tailwind CSS Documentation. We are working on a full implementation of Tailwind in the future, but for now, we are simply borrowing their classes for our own global css.

File Download Field for People

We’ve had a few requests for people to have the ability to define a download link for personal press kits, resumes, etc. You’ll now see that there is a new field avialable when editing people. If you want to be able to display a button or link on the front end of your website, you may need to ask us to update your frontend layout. Just reach out to us via chat and we’ll be glad to help.

Connect Cards can now Redirect to Latest Blog Post

We’ve had a feature available for a while that would allow you to set a connect card to be immedeately redirected to the latest sermon. This was a great way to make it so people can easily get to the latest sermon from the connect page. You could even pre-publish a sermon ahead of Sunday Morning and use the latest sermon as a source for sermon notes and downloads during the sermon (and then update later with the video and audio files). Well, now you can have a latest blog post card as well that will redirect the user to the latest post. Blog posts are a great way to publish announcements and follow up from major events in your church.

Using WordPress Archive Pages for Connect Cards

When we launched our platform, we started out by creating normal static pages for things like connect cards. This made it a little easier for you to know how to edit those pages. However, it came with a bit of a cost. When you added a new connect card, the cache for the connect page didn’t refresh automatically. So we’re moving toward using the WordPress archive for connect cards. We’re still using the page builder to build them, and you’ll still be able to customize them. This new approach makes it so the cache refreshes a little more reliably so your connect cards are immedeately available to your users.

Note: We’ve had a few client sites that have automatically switched over to the archive page without giving us an opportunity to import the page builder layout. If your connect card page is looking off, please reach out to us so we can re-import the new layout. πŸ™‚

A New Ministries Feature

As we continue to develop our teams feature into something you can full manage your ministry teams with, we are realizing that some churches need something a little more basic. They don’t think of their ministry teams as “teams” that are managed. They tend to simply focus on the ministries they offer. We just recently started rolling out a new ministries feature that allows a simple listing of ministries and an overview of each one, similar to a simple blog post.

Multiple Leaders for Small Groups

For a while, you’ve only been able to select a single leader for small groups. Now you can select as many as you’d like. Just make sure they are already entered into the system as people.

About Categories and Tags

As we have worked with each of you on your website, we’ve noticed a slight misstep that we took early on. We didn’t put enough thought into taxonomies on our platform. As a result, you’ve been able to assign categories and tags across almost every different type of content. As we have put some more thought into it, we realize that we need to be more strategic. Some content types (like a location, for instance), need to be available as a taxonomy for certain posts.

For example, if you have a campus event for one campus of a multisite church, you might need that event to be tagged just for that campus. So we’re beginning to make some changes to the categories and tags systems across the whole platform. We’ll approach it in a way that if you’ve used them in the past, they will still work for old content, but at some point, categories and tags may be removed from certain content types for adding new content. As always, if you run into any issues, just reach out to us via chat.

Sitemap Links in the Footer

We had some instances of footer sitemap links not working properly, so we fixed that. Sitemaps are just there to help search engines know what you have on your website, and they tend to know where to look to find them. But having them available in the footer helps a bit. πŸ™‚

A New Server

We’ve built a new server for this instance on the latest stable release of the Ubuntu OS (Ubuntu-20-04-x64 for all your nerdy types). As a part of this new environment, we’re running a new version of WP-Ultimo, which is what enables us to provision new sites and copy templates, as well as offer different subscription packages.

New Approach to Analytics

Over the last year, we’ve seen more and more people talking about the poor privacy practices of Google Analytics. (Take a moment to Google it, lol, and you’ll see.) We used to track all traffic in our own Google Analytics account. It wasn’t something that we could easily grant access to you, so you would need to setup an additional tracking account to really be able to see your statistics.

We’ve moved away from Google Analytics to a more privacy-focused system from Fathom Analytics. Fathom is compliant with GDPR, CCPA, ePrivacy, and PECR. They keep the most sensitive data anonymous while still delivering meaningful data about your website visitors. It loads faster than Google Analytics as well.

In addition to the privacy features they offer, there is also a publish dashboard you can view by going to https://stats.digitalchurch.app/yourdomain.church. Just replace the domain name at the end with your own domain. (You’ll see our demo site stats using the link above.)

Note: If you are still on our old platform, you may need to try https://stats.digitalchurch.website/yourdomain.church.

Updated Pricing

As a part of the new version of our platform, we are introducing new pricing. Our standard plan, which offers similar functionality to non-church competitors like wix and squarespace, is now $19 monthly. Over the last year, as a product of inflation, those services have also raised their pricing in a similar way. Our standard plan, which used to be $29 monthly, is now $39 monthly. It includes our new prayer requests feature that we are rolling out later this year. The new Premium plan now starts at $59 monthly.

If you’d like to have access to our previous pricing, simply mention something to us via chat, and we’ll discount your plan to match our previous pricing. πŸ˜‰ This special offer will only be available through the end of 2023. (But once you get the discount, you won’t lose it as long as your account stays active.)

🀠 We’re Hiring!

We’re looking to connect to contractors who want to work in the creative space for churches. If you’re a designer, developer, or writer and you want to help churches thrive in online ministry, consider joining our team. You can view our current positions at https://digitalchurch.pro