Future of the Sermon Manager plugin (Roadmap Inside)

Well, it’s been around 3 months since we took over WP for Church and wow has it been an amazing journey so far. Here are just some things we were able to accomplish (praise God):

  • Launch several new versions of the Sermon Manager addressing much needed bug requests and issues
  • Respond to around 100 support requests
  • Revamp and re-launch WP for Church with a brand new website and logo
  • Release of an amazing new theme called Multiply, built on what we think is the best theme framework around.
  • Seen Sermon Manager tip 7,000 active installs!
  • Plus a lot more (covered in a separate blog post)

Sermon Manager is the number one sermon plugin for churches that use WordPress, but it’s not without it’s faults, we know that. So we have put a lot of effort and thought into where we want to take the Sermon Manager project. We want to continue to build on it’s foundations and in particular:

  • Re-work every file and piece of code so that it satisifes ‘best practice’ and of course sees the plugin compatible with PHP 7.x
  • Add a LOT of new features – see Trello board below
  • Continue to offer a completely free version on the WordPress directory but also branch off into a separate Pro version which will naturally come with additional features. Of course, we won’t take away anything from the free version.

For those in the WordPress development world, you will appreciate how much time and effort goes into creating, improving and supporting a theme or plugin, in fact, we want to be completely transparent, as it stands, we won’t be able to continue providing the same level of support and quality without addressing our income. Around 1% of all active installs pay for support which goes into the development of this project. To address this, we have decided to introduce a paid version (Sermon Manager Pro) with additional features so that we can continue to build and maintain both the free and paid version. We appreciate all those have have supported this project in the past and look forward to making a Pro version available to those who would like a larger feature set.

Now to the exciting part, the public roadmap for the Sermon Manager plugin – https://trello.com/b/xGz75VJD.

You can also tell us your ideas or vote for existing ideas on any of our products here anytime.

We would love to get your thoughts on it all, or if anything is missing, let us know!

A fresh start for WP for Church

As you (hopefully) know by now, WP for Church was recently acquired and is now under new ownership…us 🙂

We have had the privilege of taking this business on board and it’s something we’re very excited about. We think WordPress is an amazing platform and more than that, we think Churches ought to be as effective as possible in reaching people with the life saving (and changing) news of Jesus Christ.

This is our first blog post as the new owners and we wanted to say hi and let you know about what is happening behind the scenes and what sort of things to expect going forward, so here we go.

  1. A brand new website including a new logo signifying a new start
  2. In an effort to make support accessible and at the core of the business, we have launched a brand new customer forum where you can get support from our team on all our products
  3. In addition to the forum, we also have a brand new ticket support system that is connected to the brand new customer portal.
  4. We have revamped the theme and plugin licensing system. All updates will now be centralized through a new plugin called the WPFC Manager. This will be installed when you install any of our products and will serve as a licensing hub, a product showcase and also contain FAQ’s, support options and a handy system status report so we can support you as specifically as possible.
  5. If that’s not enough, we also have a chat system in place for sales and support, or if you just have a random question. You can see it in the bottom right of the screen now.
  6. We have a brand new theme which is amazing! It’s called Multiply Theme and it’s feature packed and comes with custom Sermon Manager styling and a ton of premium plugins.
  7. We have a brand new plugin called Elvanto Groups. Elvanto is an awesome cloud church database platform and this plugin allows you to showcase your groups (bible study, youth etc) on your website and allow people to connect with groups closest to them…how cool is that!
  8. We have released several key updates to the Sermon Manager making it more stable and bug free.

Those are some things you can see right now. But there is more coming! Here is a look at what is coming up at WP for Church in the coming weeks:

  • We think online strategy is important so we want to bring you a whole series of free tips and advice when it comes to running church websites effectively. Watch out for a bunch of articles and a new Strategy hub soon.
  • In our effort to equip and enable church teams to be effective online, we are launching an Academy where we’ll teach you how to manage all aspects of your church website, how to run effective teams, how to do digital ministry with a clear strategy and more!
  • Analytics is important! So we’re pouring a lot of effort into this, including dragging in a Digital Analytics Specialist, so we can give you all the latest tips and advice on being a data driven church.
  • All the existing themes and plugins are being reviewed and revamped. In fact, all the existing themes will be re-built from the ground up. We are aiming to release a brand new version of each theme every month.
  • The Sermon Manager has served the church well however we want to make it even better. We’re soon going to start the scoping phase for a complete rebuild! We’re building a brand new version of the Sermon Manager including a Pro version, it’s going to be amazing. We also want your help to make it as good as possible so why not submit your idea here or vote for existing ideas.
  • Not all projects are the same, so we want to help. We’ll soon be launching a whole suite of custom services to help you be more effective online. More on this soon.
  • We are going to be releasing a couple of new plugins too over the next 4 weeks
  • Lastly (for now) we want you to know that new themes are coming, soon we’ll be working to one new theme every 2 months, giving you even more choice.

So as you can see, lots has been going on behind the scenes and a lot more is coming. I hope you are excited about this, because i know we are.

Please leave any comments below, and why not subscribe to our newsletter, it’s a great way to keep in the loop about what is going on at WP for Church.

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Check out our public Trello board for updates!

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Launch FAQ’s

Where are all the knowledgebase articles?

We have made all the existing knowledgebase articles available via the main menu at the top, it will be available until the knowledgebase is migrated to the new system. You can access the knowledgebase here.

Can i still access my old account?

Yes absolutely, not everything is migrated to our new systems so we have made access to the old account area available here. It’s also accessible via the Support menu above. All your billing information is still there, including licenses and downloads.

I am on a Legacy Plan, will you honor it?

Yes we will! Part of us taking ownership was to honor all active legacy subscriptions. These are $59 per year legacy plans and all active subscribers to this plan will be grandfathered into it going forward.

Your product pricing has changed, why and what does it mean for me?

We had a close look at existing pricing and we came to the very clear conclusion that it is not sustainable. We want to be able to not only build great products for you, but be able to support them too. At the $29 price point, this just isn’t possible. So looking through the website you can see a few price changes. Sermon Manager support has gone from $29 to $49; Themes have gone from $29 to $69 which is more in line with the market and our new themes, which are at the premium level (we will be re-building all existing themes and making them much better). Existing themes which have not been re-created will continue to be $29, after which they will increase to $69. Going forward, we will of course honor any active subscriptions at the old price points, however renewals (whenever they come around) will be at the new prices.

What will happen to my current subscription/s?

We don’t plan to change anything for you, you will continue to have the same access as before. The only change will be when renewals naturally roll around for you, at that point you will have the opportunity to renew with us at the new price/s.

Our guarantee to you as the new owners

I know i said this before, but we are super excited about WP for Church. We want it to be a truly valuable asset to the broader church. To us that means creating themes which are not only beautiful, but functional, feature packed and well supported. The same applies to plugins, we want them to be useful, coded to best practice, supported and improved. As you can imagine, doing things well takes time, effort and expertise, so my promise to you is that you will get this high standard of support and premium level products. I only ask that you continue to support WP for Church and you can do that by praying for us, buying a subscription, promoting us, submitting ideas, subscribing to our newsletter, following us on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to this journey with you, an awesome community of creatives, all striving to do one thing – make Jesus name above every other name.

God Bless