Latest Changes

January 31, 2022

It’s no secret that the church is made up of people. This includes attendees, ministry leaders, board members, and staff members. They all play an important role in the life of the church. And if your church website is really going to function as a digital representation of your local church, it should have the ability to represent these individuals.

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT

Let’s start by thinking about a staff page on your website. It’s easy for most of us to see why a church might need one. In fact, that’s often one of the most visited pages on a church website. If you put yourselves in the shoes of a new person, it’s easy to see why. You’re visiting a new church for the first time. You see multiple people step up on the platform, with no idea who any of them are, and you begin to feel a connection with those people. But it’s really hard to pull them aside to introduce yourself. You want to get to know them, though, so it’s nice to be able to have a bit of a head start. You go to the church website to see who they are and read a little bit about them. This scenario plays out week after week in thousands of churches.

Staff isn’t quite a broad enough designation, though. Often times, we have lay people serving in leadership roles. This could be as a board member, a ministry director, or even a classroom teacher. So rather than only having staff available on the site, I would encourage you to add everyone in a leadership position to your church website.

In response to that need, we developed a feature we called “Team Members”. Many of you have been using that feature for a while now, especially when it comes to assigning a speaker for a sermon.

But as I’ve personally dreamt about what the Digital Church Platform could become–about how it could help churches to thrive online–I realized that we needed to broaden the scope of “Team Members” to include any “People” in the church. This would allow us to do much more than we are currently able to do.

What kind of features can we develop on top of Digital Church People?

For starters, you might want to add a member directory to your website. Perhaps people with user accounts would have the capability to sign in to their website and view a directory of their fellow church members. Maybe they could even send them a message of encouragement or express their prayers for that person. Or maybe, just maybe, we could encourage people to complete a profile that includes some basic information on their own spiritual journey.

This is where things get interesting.

What if you had a database of people for your church that included important information like: Who has accepted Jesus? Who has been baptized? Who is serving on a team? Who regularly attends a small group? Who has submitted a prayer request?

As a church leader, that should give you some incredibly useful data to be able to know how to lead your church.

As we develop this new tool for churches, we will include the ability to define spiritual growth markers like salvation, baptism, prayer, etc. And as your church engages in spiritual development over time, we’ll display relevant data to those of you in leadership so you’ll be able to make informed decisions about how you are leading your church.

Privacy is important as well, so we will be moving forward with great caution. We want people to be able to track their own spiritual growth markers privately if they would like, while still presenting anonymized data for the church leadership, but also to allow some of that data to be shared in detail if the individual decides to share it.

Out of this vision, we’re opening a Digital Church People Beta Program today. It’s very simple right now, and really isn’t much different than our Team Member feature was, but it’s laying groundwork for amazing growth of our platform, and in turn giving you some tools that you will be able to use to lead your church into growth.

If you would like to join the Digital Church People Beta Program, you can fill out an application and our team will get you set up. We’re looking forward to receiving feedback directly from you as we shape the future of this essential tool for churches.

October 18, 2021

Sometimes, when you’re working on a long page, it can be a little overwhelming to process all the content on that page as you’re working on it. Moving entire rows up and down the page can be a little cumbersome as well. Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to a simple list view of the page contents and have the ability to move them around within that list view?

Now you can! In the top right corner of the page builder interface, you’ll now see an icon for the outline panel. You’ll see new options to add labels in the advanced tab for rows, columns, and modules as well to organize your layout. We’ll be working on adding those labels to our templates as well. From now on, restructuring your page content is as simple and dragging it up and down the list. (You can also duplicate and delete content from the outline view!)

Let us know how you like this new feature! We love to hear from you in the chat!

October 4, 2021

We’re constantly trying to find ways to help you save time. If you’re short-staffed (as most churches are), you might have found that it’s difficult to get your sermons published every week. Maybe getting them posted on YouTube is all you have time for.

We know that adding sermons to your website is vital. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. People search for things they are struggling with spiritually. Your sermons might help them find the help they are looking for. Making sure you have sermons published on your website makes your website a resource for people who are searching for Jesus.
  2. Sermons give your website more value to users. Regular worship experiences are one of the most critical things we do as churches. It’s incredibly valuable to your internal faith community, so why not make sure that when your people are on your website, they see the latest sermons right there, ready to be watched (or re-watched or shared)?
  3. More content gives your website more value to search engines. Aside from the actual content that people search for, when search engines see that you are publishing content regularly, that can contribute to a higher level of credibility within their algorithm. That means that you have a better chance of being found for unrelated searches, (like “churches near me”) which gives your church greater visibility overall.
  4. It makes your website more interactive and sharable. People like to share things they find as valuable online. You spend so much time writing your sermons, so you should do everything you can to leverage their value. Create a culture among your people of sharing sermons from your church website. Then, when the friends they are sharing with are ready to come to an event or plan a visit for a Sunday, everything they need is already available in a place they are familiar with: your church website.

Those are just a few simple reasons why sermon publishing is so important to the content strategy of your church website. But like we said earlier, who has time for that?

We decided that for some of you, it might be nice if you could just set up an automatic connection to your YouTube channel. Something that made it so every time you published a new video on your channel, it showed up as a sermon on your website. We decided it was time to build it into our new sermon plugin.

🎉 We’re proud to announce that all new sites are now able to automatically publish sermons from their YouTube channel!

To achieve that, we had to build a new sermon plugin for our system that included the new code. That new sermon code also affects the Live Stream settings, so we can’t just force activate it on everyone’s website (without messing up some other stuff). All new sites have this new feature by default! But if you started building your site before today (October 4th, 2021), then you’ll need to reach out to us via chat, so we can manually activate this feature on your website and make sure your Live Stream is still functioning properly.

Keep an eye out for some help guides that will hit our Support Center soon that will explain how to set this up for your website as well.

March 1, 2021

We just pushed some updates to the admin menu styles. Functionally, not much has changed, but the colors provide a better contrast than before, which we hope will make it easier for you to quickly find what you’re looking for in the admin dashboard. You’ll notice that the + New button stands out a bit more than it used to in the dashboard, and you’ll also notice that the submenus have a beautiful background blur applied to them.

Collapse that menu!

If you look closely, you’ll see a small icon in the top left corner of the new admin menu. Click on that and the whole menu will collapse out of the way. Hooray!

Well, what do you think? Jump into the chat and let us know!

P.S. If you missed last week’s post about the block editor, you’ll want to make sure you read it. It made some huge improvements to how you can manage content on dynamic items like blog posts and sermons.

February 24, 2021

The Digital Church Platform is a custom built application that uses a combination of proprietary code and open source tools to give you the best experience we can. Our administration area and content management system is built on WordPress, which is an open-source application that powers 40% of the internet. Because of the vast ecosystem of plugins and raw code available to us, we’ve been able to do almost anything with WordPress.

At the end of 2018, WordPress released their new Block Editor as part of the Gutenberg project. It introduced a cleaner, more powerful way to edit basic website content using content blocks and a simple interface that resembles Dropbox Paper or Notion. At the time of the release, we decided to give the block editor some time to mature before we began implementing it directly into The Digital Church Platform. We believe the time has come to bring the Block Editor to the Digital Church experience.

Last week, we pushed an update that activated the Block Editor for several content types. You will now see the Block Editor active for blog posts, connect cards, resources, sermons, stories, and teams. You’ll notice all the same options are still available, although the interface looks a little bit different. If you have any trouble finding something, you can always reach out to us via chat and we’ll get you headed in the right direction.

What is a block?

A “block” is simply a way to describe a piece of content. There are several block types available for you to use, including quotes, headings, buttons, images, galleries, and embeds. As we continue to develop the Digital Church Platform, we’ll extend the Block Editor with more blocks and patterns. (Patterns are just collections of pre-styled blocks that are meant to give you a bit of a template to work from.

What about the Page Builder?

Don’t worry. We don’t have any plans to get rid of the Page Builder. The Page Builder gives you full control of static pages and allows you to fully customize the entire layout. The Block Editor is a little different. It’s meant to work with more dynamic content types like sermons, connect cards, and blog posts. These content types live within our theme layouts, so you wouldn’t use the Block Editor to design the whole post, just the main content area of the post.

How do I add a content block?

Adding blocks is very easy. Similar to the Page Builder, you’ll see a plus button in the top menu where you can add a new block. While the page builder uses drag-and-drop, the Block Editor just adds the block to wherever your cursor is active. It’s much more linear in the way you compile the blocks as you work down the post. There’s also another really fast way to add a new block… slash commands.

What’s a slash command?

Slash commands are a quick way to add a new block without taking your hands off the keyboard. For instance, when writing this post, I used text with heading blocks between sections. Instead of reaching for my trackpad, I just used a slash command by starting a new line and typing /heading on the new line.

How can I test it out?

A great way to test out the new Block Editor is to open your Digital Church Platform dashboard and create a new Blog Post. Feel free to click around on all the buttons and try out some blocks. Don’t forget to try out a slash command!

How do I get back to my dashboard?

When you are all done in the Block Editor, just tap on the button in the top left (where the Digital Church logo is) and you’ll return to the familiarity of the dashboard.

March 17, 2020

Because of the current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, live streaming has moved from side-stage to center stage. Many churches are closing their doors for the next several weeks (or months) and scrambling to either start live streaming or bring things to the next level. For years, many churches viewed live streaming as a way to help the few who couldn’t make it to the live worship experience (or maybe to extend their reach beyond their walls a bit), but for now, it’s the primary way churches will communicate their sermons and information for the foreseeable future.

We’re all in this together, and Digital Church is doing everything we can to develop tools for our churches to be able to reach their people in this digital-only landscape. The first step was to finish up a live streaming integration we’ve been working on for several months. If you log into the dashboard on your Digital Church website, you should see a live stream widget right in the first page of the admin area. You can also visit the live streaming settings by going to Settings > Sermons in the dashboard.

Once you’re on the site settings page, you’ll see three options: Facebook, YouTube, and iFrame. Any dedicated streaming platform should provide you with an iframe code that you can use to embed their stream on your website. YouTube and Facebook work a little differently, though, so we’ve built specific integrations to help you get the most out of these two free-to-stream platforms.

Facebook Live

Facebook seems to be the first place churches consider streaming. The engagement you can find natively on facebook is incredible. You’ll have access to a commenting and reaction framework that integrates nicely within facebook, and people can easily share the stream with their friends to help you broaden the impact of the live stream and get the Gospel out to more people.

There’s one BIG caveat, though. Facebook generates a unique video URL for each video and doesn’t give you any way to automatically access every “latest or current video” in an embed. So we created a workaround for you on our platform. As soon as you schedule or start a new live stream, the unique live video URL will be available. All you need to do is copy and paste the updated video URL in your dashboard live stream settings page and BOOM. Your whole site is now updated with the latest stream. No digging through embed codes. No “embed generators” to deal with. Just copy and paste the video link.

Once your stream is set up, you can add a livestream anywhere on your site with a simple


YouTube Live

YouTube goes one step further toward a full-fledged live streaming platform. If you set up your channel and go through the live streaming approval process (which can take a day or two), you’ll be able to access your current or latest live video with a channel ID. Just get your channel ID from your YouTube channel settings and paste it into your Digital Church website live stream settings page. Save the changes and you’re feed will always display your latest or current live video.

Just add the

shortcode to any page of your site and you’re set!

Third-Party Live Streaming Platforms

Every other live streaming platform we’ve found gives you access to an iframe embed code that you can copy and paste into your Digital Church website live streaming settings page to set your site to use that stream. Anywhere on the site where you add the

shortcode, your stream will appear.

One More Thing…

Just integrating the feed wasn’t enough for us! We wanted to give you a simple countdown timer that can be placed anywhere on your site. The timer counts down to your “on-air” time. Once that time arrives, the timer turns into a “Live” notice. When your “off-air” time comes around, the countdown comes back and starts counting down to next week. You can add your timer anywhere on your site with a simple


We also baked in a really cool feature to the live timer… Let’s say you want to only show the livestream when you’re on-air, and when you aren’t on-air, you want to display the sermon archive posts. Well, as long as the timer is active on the page, it will fire some extra script that can hide or show some additional content. Any element you want to show during your on-air window just needs to have a class of “on-air”. Likewise, anything you want to hide while you’re on-air (and show while you’re off-air) you can give the “off-air” class. (Look in the advanced tab of the page builder and you’ll find a field for class. You can only do this to one element on the page, so be strategic. You may need to set up two entire rows to include everything you want to change.)

Also, we’ve integrated the new live stream features into our Live page template in the page builder, so if you don’t have a dedicated live streaming page on your website, just import that page template and you’ll be all set!

As always, reach out to us via chat if you need any help!

December 16, 2019

Christmas is coming, and we hope you are ready for that Christmas ham. But we all know that nothing screams “lump of coal” like website SPAM. Since the beginning, we’ve offered various levels of protection for your website. Let’s cover that briefly, and then we’ll unwrap this shiny new gift…

Brute Force protection from, well… brutes.

Pretty much all the horrible things that can happen to websites happen when a robot start poking around your login page. They take a peek at your code and start pasting in the most common username and password they can think of, like password, 1234, and… password1234 …stuff like that. They also need to know the username, which by default on most websites is… wait for it… admin.

So we don’t let our users use the username admin or passwords that are stupid simple. And because of that, the bots have to try a lot harder to get into your site. But our system automatically detects when a user is failing at the password attempt more than a handful of times and then it locks them out entirely. As a result, if you forget your password and try a few times, you might also be locked out. Don’t fear, though… Just come back in ten minutes and you should be able to try again. The bots will just move on to the next sorry chump.

(By the way, if you do get locked out and can’t get in, just hop over to our website and one of our amazing support reps will help you get back in.)

SSL/TLS Certification (A.K.A. “the little green padlock”)

Let’s say these bots get a little smarter, and they hire a real human to go over to your local coffee shop and attempt to intercept some of the internet traffic there. (It’s really gross… kind of like taking a sip of everyone’s drink.) If you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, someone like this could grab your password as you send it from your laptop to our server. But we’ve taken the pleasure of installing a security certificate on every website we care for. That certificate encrypts your password as soon as it leaves your browser and keeps it encrypted all the way to us. So you don’t have to worry about someone sipping your coffee. Or stealing your password. The same goes for credit card information, because, well, you don’t want to be paying for their coffee, either.

But what is this new thing?

Okay, okay… I get it. I’ve made you wait long enough. So here’s the deal. There was one annoyance that we’ve had trouble finding a good way to prevent. See, we’ve always wanted your websites to be something that your people use to interact with your church. We want them to have a good reason to create a user account on your website. We want them to comment on your sermons, sign up for events and groups, and maybe even subscribe to email or text messages (hint: text notifications are on our roadmap) from you to stay in the loop and get better connected to your church. So we’ve made it possible for them to sign up for user accounts that have no access to the dashboard. They can’t edit any site content, but they could submit a comment on some of yours. The default role is “subscriber”, so there’s never been a concern for them to start hacking away at your website. But it’s really annoying when you look at your user list and there’s a dozen new users from Russia… So we found a way to fix that.

Beginning today, you shouldn’t see much more of that funny business. We’ve installed some new code into the system that watches for things that might identity user registrations as fake news. For instance, it probably takes most human beings longer than three seconds to type in their name, email, and password when they’re setting up a new account online. Bots do it almost instantly, so our new software watches how long it takes, and if they type at a billion words per minute, you shall not pass.


Merry Christmas!

That’s all for now, but I really hope you have an excellent Christmas season in your churches. If you’d like some help setting up a Christmas landing page or something, let us know in the support chat and we’ll help you get started. Over the next few months, we’ll be migrating our existing clients over to our latest build of the platform. It has some new features built into it and should hum a little faster as well. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

P.S. If you want to take a look at your user accounts on your website and remove any shady characters, now is the time. Feel free to knock them out if you don’t recognize them as part of your church.

November 1, 2019

For the past several months, we’ve been moving our development into a new server environment with better scalability and a much more involved server management team. Digital Church is officially moving from a SiteGround Cloud to a GridPane Managed Cloud. GridPane represents the latests in a high level of security, availability, and scalability for Website-As-A-Service businesses like us, and we’re so excited about the level of support we’ve already received from them as we prepared our new home.

What Does This Mean?

Over the past several months, we’ve been bumping up against some of the limitations on SiteGround. They have been excellent for the time we’ve spent there, but we’ve outgrown it a bit. So it was time to get some new digs. GridPane specializes in wordpress installations, and specifically in running multi-site businesses like ours. They work with multiple cloud providers using the latest technology stack available. We’re still getting settled in, working out the kinks and squashing some bugs, but in the long-term, this is going to be the best option for us to move forward and scale as we continue to help more churches and organizations reach more people.

Currently, we have about forty paying clients. We need to scale to 100 as soon as possible in order to get to the next level, and in order to do that, we needed to be ready to grow.

How does this affect client sites?

For now, most of your existing sites are still on SiteGround. We have installed a few sites on the new environment to allow us to put it to the test. We’ll continue to add a few more each week until things are settled in. Once we get there, we will be batch-migrating sites over. The whole process will take a few months, but our goal is to be done by the end of January. When we are ready to migrate your site, we’ll reach out to you.

What will be different?

Not much will look different at first. We’ve been developing our latest features on the new platform, though, which include live streaming integrations and some tweaking of our templates. If you’d like to see a site we built on the new platform, check out Pineville Church. We’re still wrapping up a few revisions for them, but the site is live now, so check it out!

A few other reasons this new platform is better has to do with some integrations with Cloudflare DNS, the ability for client sites to automatically install SSL certificates when the domain is mapped, and a few other super-geeky things. You’ll probably notice that the builder will load faster, the dashboard will be a little snappier, and the caching of your site will be automatically managed.

What is next?

After we get all our client sites migrated, we are going to start working on more templates. We have plans for six new template sites, with over 30 pages each, so we have a lot of work ahead of us.

How can I help?

Please continue to tell people about us! We are just beginning to dip our toes into some paid advertising for the platform, but there are many other businesses like ours out there that we are competing with. Our best way to move forward will be one customer at a time through word of mouth referrals. Please tell your friends to check us out! Also, if you’d like to leave us a review on Facebook or Google, that would be excellent!