Displaying Sermons with a Sermons Plugin

A great plug-in that I’ve found and use on all WordPress-powered church sites that I set up is the Sermon Manager plug-in. Sermon Manager is a plug-in designed to help churches easily publish sermons online. You can add speakers, sermon series, and Bible references. Sermons can include .mp3 (audio) files, as well as Adobe Acrobat pdf files, Microsoft Word (doc) files, or PowerPoint presentation (ppt) files. You can also embed videos that are stored on commercial services like YouTube and Vimeo.

To install the Sermon Manager plug-in (or to install any plug-in, for that matter), go to the Dashboard, and under Plug-Ins, click Add New.  Doing so causes the WordPress Install Plug-Ins screen to appear: In the Search box, you can enter a search term, or you can narrow your search by clicking on any of the categories shown in the lower half of the screen.Click in the Search box and enter the term, ‘sermon manager’ and click the ‘Search Plugins’ button.

In a moment, a list of plug-ins that are an exact match or a close match for your search term will appear. First on the list should be ‘Sermon Manager’, authored by Jack Lamb. (With plug-ins, the author name always appears beneath the plug-in description at the right.) After verifying that you have found the correct plug-in, click the ‘Install Now’ link beneath the plug-in name, and click ‘Yes’ in the confirmation box when asked if you want to install the plug-in.

Once the plug-in has been installed, you’ll see a message indicating a successful installation. Click the ‘Activate Plugin’ link that appears as part of this message, and the plug-in will be activated and ready for your use. You can tell that the plug-in is working with a glance at your Dashboard. You should see a new Sermons menu, which displays the choices shown in the following illustration when you click on this menu.

With the Sermon Manager, each sermon must be assigned to a given preacher, so before you can add any sermons to the system, you must first add the names of the individuals who are preaching the sermons.  Open the Sermons menu and choose Preachers, Here, you can enter a name, a “slug” (which is a URL-friendly version of the name that normally does not include any spaces), and an optional description.  (The description does not appear prominently anywhere by default, but some themes may show it.)

Once you have entered the names of your preachers, you can proceed to enter sermons.  To add a new sermon, open the Sermons menu, and choose Add Sermon.  The Add New Sermon screen will appear, as shown here.

In the top portion of this screen, you first enter a title for the sermon in the title box.  Then in the Sermon Details portion of the screen, enter a date for the sermon, and choose the type of service (Sunday AM, Sunday PM, Adult Bible Study, Midweek Service, etc.).  You can enter a Bible passage in the Main Bible Passage field, and add an optional description in the Description area. After entering this information, scroll down to reveal the lower portion of the Add New Sermon screen, shown here.

In this area, you enter the actual content of the sermon.  If your sermons are recorded as audio files, you can click within the ‘Location of MP3′ text box then click the ‘Upload File’ button to display an Open File dialog that lets you browse to the location of the audio file on your hard drive.  If your sermons are stored on YouTube or Vimeo, you can go to the YouTube or Vimeo website and locate your sermon, then click the share button at the YouTube or Vimeo site to display the embed code that  you will need.  Highlight that block of HTML code and press CTRL+C to copy it into memory, then return to this screen in the Sermon Manager, and paste the HTML code into the Vimeo Embed Code box.

Once you’ve loaded one or more sermons into the Sermon Manager, making them available on your website is a simple matter. Just add a new page to display your sermons. You’ll probably want to title it “Sermons” or “Worship Messages” or whatever title is appropriate.  In the body of the page, you simply add the following code, exactly as shown:

[sermons]

With the Sermon Manager plug-in activated at your WordPress site, this code causes your sermons that you’ve stored in the Sermon Manager to be visible on the page. The figure that follows shows an example of a sermon, saved as an .MP3 file, that has been uploaded to the Sermon Manager. Viewers will be able to use the slider controls to move around in audio sermons.

This tutorial is an excerpt from the book WordPress for Churches, available at Amazon.  If you’ve been charged with putting WordPress to work at your place of worship, consider this publication as one you’ll refer back to time and time again. Click the image below if you would like to learn more about this useful reference, available as an inexpensive e-book from Amazon.