When deciding what platform to build my church’s site on I had to take a lot of things into account. I needed something flexible, fast, powerful, and maintainable. I also needed the ability to have user accounts and the ability to join small groups. The need for such robust features led me directly to Drupal. Here are a few modules that helped me kickstart our church website and take it to the next level. These modules are specifically for Drupal 7, so if your site is not on Drupal 7, some or all of these modules might not work for you.
1. Bible Field
The Bible Field is a CCK field that allows you to select a range of a book or scriptures. For example, you could select multiple chapters of a book or take only certain verses from one chapter. I used this on the audio sermons to tell which passage the sermon was on. It also has views integration so I was able to do an exposed filter that allows the user to filter available sermons by the book of the Bible.
If you have ever worked in the ministry before you already know that things can get hectic. The Scheduler module can help you manage the content on your Drupal site by allowing you the option to schedule when your nodes get published. This can be a great way to preload content for the upcoming month and schedule it to publish on certain dates.
There are plenty of media modules out there that will do the very same thing this module does, but this is my personal favorite at the moment. MediaElement.js allows you to have HTML5 enabled video and audio crossbrowser. That means your video and audio will work on mobile devices, such as iPads, Androids, and iPhones. I used this module to build out the sermon archives section of our site, which included audio versions of each sermon.
5. Custom search
The Custom Search module improves upon Drupal’s default search experience by giving you finer grain control of how and what is searchable. You can choose to have it only search for a specific content type, such as sermons.
The Date module is the foundation of any type of event driven site. Since Churches have services, small groups, youth groups, and more the need for attaching a date to a node is very important. This will also integrate with the next module on this list to help you build a calendar of events.
7. Full Calendar
In my opinion, the Full Calendar module is the best calendar module available for Drupal. It’s easy to make color changes, looks great, and is very flexible. It even works with AJAX to keep Drupal from loading all calendar events at once.
8. Draggable Views
Draggable views does something you might not have realized was possible in Drupal - it can rearrange or reorder the output of a view. For example, if you have a home page slider and you’re not sure how to adjust the order, use Draggable views to build a drag-and-drop interface to easily change the order of the slides.
9. Share This
What good is posting information about your services, small groups, youth groups, etc., if no one ever sees it? Make sure you have some type of sharing module installed in order to get the word out on all of the major social networks.
Every new module you add to your Drupal site has the potential to slow down it down, so make sure you pay attention to the performance of your site. This boost module is semi-advanced to setup, so do not attempt it if you do not have some prior Drupal knowledge. However, it will serve up cached static HTML files to your users which will significantly speed up page load times.
These are just a few of the modules I use and do not encompass all of the functionality one might need to build a robust church website in Drupal. However, they will have you on your way to building an effective/engaging website for your congregation.