Three years ago, in July 2011, I started a theme shop. It was an era where many people in smaller niches were yet to be discovered by developers as a force to be reckoned with. The “The Long Tail” principal hadn’t yet sunk in, at least not enough for churches to have viable WordPress theme options available to them.
Churches were being grossly under-served in every WordPress theme marketplace. The most common option for them was to customize their favorite “photography” or “design agency” theme, somehow seeing past page after page of irrelevant stock imagery and the thousands of “shortcodes” they wouldn’t be using. Sprinkle in a few plugins, and say a prayer – maybe, just maybe, this would work.
Thanks to the encouragement I received from friends and family (and a few discouragements too) I launched ChurchThemes.net in an effort to bring robust WordPress theme options to churches and fulfill my dream of seeing churches launch full-featured websites, that would typically cost thousands of dollars, for less than $100.
The past three years have been a massive learning experience for me. Dealing with issues like pricing, upgrades, support, competitors, backwards compatibility – the list goes on. I’ve enjoyed so many experiences, both failures and successes, because of starting this business.
But the entrepreneur in me just can’t be satisfied with one business. Late last year my friends at X-Team and I began prototyping the product now known as Stream. And it’s taking off like a rocket in the WordPress community.
So this year we decided to undertake even more ambitious plans to establish Stream as the de facto standard in WordPress activity tracking. And now we’re well on our way to achieving it. And I can’t even mention another secret personal project I’ve been working on! Needless to say, the time has come to part ways with ChurchThemes.net.
Today, I’m happy to say that Lift has acquired ChurchThemes.net and will be ushering in a new chapter for the business and its customers. I cannot say enough about the Lift co-founders Chris Wallace and Brad Miller. These guys not only have insane WordPress theme chops, they have a deep-rooted passion to see churches succeed.
Churches are no longer under-served in WordPress theme marketplaces, but there are plenty of innovative challenges just waiting for someone to spearhead and break open new possibilities, just as ChurchThemes.net did in the very beginning. I am confident that the guys at Lift are going to blow the roof off of the industry and define the future for churches using WordPress.
It’s a bittersweet moment for me as I officially part ways with ChurchThemes.net. But its future has never been brighter, and for that, I am very thankful.