General Thoughts:

Risen is the first theme created by Steven Gliebe of ChurchThemes.com (click here to read an interview I did with him).  Unlike his Resurrect theme, this one is sold via ThemeForest.  Steven continues to support this theme and even released a major update even though he now started his own company.  (click here to see a brief comparison between the Resurrect and Risen themes.)

The Risen theme is a great theme.  It is designed specifically for churches.  Risen is easy to set up and very customizable.  Custom backgrounds and color options help create a web presence fitting for all styles of churches (traditional and contemporary churches, rural and urban and everything in between).

Who This is For:

I think the Risen theme would work for any church that uses WordPress to create their website.  It is simple enough that a beginner can use this theme to create a professional-looking site.  Risen also contains customization features that more experienced WordPress designers will appreciate.

Pros:

Price: You can get a quality, professional-looking church website for $45 on ThemeForest.  This includes full support for this church theme.

Multiple background options built into the theme: One cool thing about the Risen theme is that they provide you with 24 different background images that you can choose from.  Each gives the theme a little bit of a different feel.  It is a great customization option for churches that don’t have people with a lot of photo editing capabilities.

Great Responsive Format: I really like how this theme looks on tablets and cell phones.  This features is built in and doesn’t require anything more to make it work.

Great Support & Tutorial:  I like that how many set-up instruction are built into the Risen theme.  For instance, the sidebar widgets automatically tell you were to find the particular area you want to edit.  In the home page boxes, it tells you what the recommended image size is right next to where you upload the image.  In the header section, it tells you how to add social media information.  These little tips greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend creating your new site.

Flexible Home Page Slider: I really like how flexible the home page slider is.  You can add any number of slides with images and videos.  It is very easy it is to add a title to go over top slider images.  This is all done via the Home Slider area of the dashboard.  All you have to do is upload an image (you can trim it to the recommended dimensions via WordPress editor) and type the words you want to appear above it and enter the url you want it to point to.

Social Media Integration: I love how they have integrated social media into their design.  Icons are found in the footer areas.  They are a great way to let people know that your church has a presence on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc!  They have a social media section in their customizable menu that makes it easy to set up and manage all your connections.

Church-related Page Templates: There is no doubt that the Risen theme is created for churches.  They have 11 page templates to make page creation simpler, and they are all geared towards churches (sermons, events, people, blog, etc).  Templates save you a ton of time when creating a new site.

Church Content Built Into Theme: The Risen Theme is specifically designed with churches in mind. It has a number of features–events, sermons, staff, and so on–that are built into its code.  This makes it easy for beginner users because it reduces the number of plugins that will have to be set up and used.

Sidebar Options: One feature I really like about the Risen theme is that it has different sidebar widgets for different categories of pages.  These categories correspond with the church-related page templates and contents.  This means that you can place different things on the side of pages that were created with these page templates.  This allows you to automatically put a list of all your recent sermon series in the sidebar of all the sermon pages and at the same time put a list of upcoming events or info about your worship service next to all your staff bio or ministry pages.

Cons:

Home Page Content Modified in Various Dashboard Locations: I like the look of the Risen homepage.  It is easy to modify once you figure out where everything is.  However, it is a little annoying that you have to go to different places of the dashboard to edit the various components of the home page.  The slider and three main boxes have their own area in the dashboard.  The intro text is edited in the Theme Options area, and the bottom of the home page is changed in the widget area.  The documentation makes it easy to figure all this out.  It would be simpler to have all or most of the home page stuff in one location.

Risen Events do not Sync with Other Calendar Systems: Another thing to be aware of is that the built-in Risen theme events do not currently sync with Google Calendar or Facebook events.  Many churches use these services to promote events and share information. While this isn’t a deal-breaker by any stretch, it does mean that you may have to either look at a different calendar plugin that accomplishes these tasks or assign someone to updating the info in multiple locations. If you install the other calendar plugins, you have two different events sections in the dashboard, which can be a little confusing.

Neutral Things to be Aware of:

Requires Options Framework Plugin for Complete Customization:  It isn’t a big deal at all, but Risen requires you to install the Options Framework Plugin to allow you to customize everything.  They make the installation process easy, but it is an extra step to get everything installed.

No Footer Widgets: The Risen theme layout relies heavily on sidebar widgets to communicate information.  I really like the look of this.  However, I think they could have increased the flexibility of this design even more if they would have used footer widgets.  I personally like to use footer widgets to add the same info on the bottom of each page.

Column Page Layout Options: I personally like to create pages with multiple columns in the main page area.  The Risen theme does not have a plugin or short code to allow you to do this (like Elegant Themes or Genesis Framework).  This doesn’t mean that you can’t have multiple columns, you just have to use the sidebars widgets. Incorporating something like this would add even more flexibility to their theme!

Read other reviews for ChurchThemes.com themes here: Resurrect

Want to learn more about other great themes? Check out our other WordPress Themes for Churches resource, all our theme reviews,  or our church theme comparison tool.

If you bought this theme, we would love to hear what you thought about it below!

[gss-content-box color=”yellow”] I have an affiliate relationship with ChurchThemes.com. If you click here to purchase via my affiliate link , you get the best available prices and I get a small referral fee.  However, I only recommend this theme because I have used it and I love it. If you are creating a new site, save time and energy and grab our FREE church website starter kit![/gss-content-box]

Watch this short 7 Minute Intro to Risen’s Features!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96anbyoGP8c

Here are some more screenshots of this theme!