Have you heard of the new Series Engine? If not, you should check it out. It is a robust WordPress plugin that helps you organize and share sermons, lectures, audio, and other media content on your site and across the web. It was created by Eric Murrell, communications manager at Long Hollow Baptist Church, co-founder of MediaBLEEP, creator of The Prayer Engine and part of the Creative Missions vision team. I recently had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.
What is the Series Engine?
Eric Murrell: Series Engine is a premium sermon plugin for WordPress. It allows you to create a robust media page in seconds, and can share your messages throughout your site and across the web with unlimited media pages, podcasts and widgets.
What makes it different than the other sermon sharing services out there?
Eric: The Series Engine is capable of a lot of different things, but the standout feature for our customers seems to be the ease-of-use. It really does take only seconds to get started, and it only takes a few clicks to make it fit right in with just about any theme.
It’s also extremely flexible; I wanted to create a single product that stitched together a lot of the most-wanted features for any church site. Enter your sermon details once, and Series Engine uses that information to build media pages, flesh out your sidebars, update your podcasts and more. It gets rid of a lot of the busy work that drives ministries crazy.
What prompted you to create it?
Eric: Our church is switching to WordPress this fall, and I just couldn’t find a good solution for sharing sermons. Our media page is the most popular feature on our current site, and I didn’t want to take a step backwards in functionality just because we were switching platforms.
The Series Engine is the culmination of about eight months of hard work and late nights. It’s a solution that meets our needs in a unique way, and I think many other ministries will be able to benefit from it as well.
What problem does it solve for churches/organizations?
Eric: It provides a solution for sharing sermons with WordPress that is modern, attractive and easy-to-manage. There’s no longer a need to be chained to a specific church theme or try to shoehorn several other plugins together to make something work.
Series Engine is a simple, elegant (and cheap!) solution to a common problem for ministries.
What are some things churches should think through if they’re just getting started with providing their audio/video online?
Eric: First, your members and visitors are definitely looking for it. Visitors want it because they want to see what your church/pastor is like before they visit. Members want it so they can put their favorite messages on their iPod and share the messages that spoke to them with their friends.
More than anything, it helps your church to impact the community beyond just a Sunday morning service. Series Engine makes it easy to take a big step in the right direction.
Why did you decide to make it a WordPress plugin as opposed to a stand-alone solution?
Eric: In talking with churches and Prayer Engine customers over the last two years, there’s an obvious shift towards WordPress, especially in these financially challenging times. WordPress has grown a lot as a website platform, and its much more affordable to start up and maintain.
Since we’re moving to WordPress ourselves this fall, I figured it was the best place to start.
How easy is it to use?
Eric: Extremely easy. A user can install the plugin, create a media page, change the styles and upload their messages in just a few minutes (without ever touching a line of code).
How does it compliment it’s sister app, The Prayer Engine?
Eric: The two make for a pretty great combo. Our media and prayer pages are among the most popular features of our site, and these WordPress plugins provide every ministry with the same powerful tools.
We’ve had great feedback from the hundreds of churches using the Prayer Engine, so I’m hoping the Series Engine will be another huge help to ministries across the globe.
Series Engine for Free
Eric has been kind enough to give us a copy of the Series Engine to give away.
If your church or organization has a WordPress blog and would like a copy, leave us a comment (and perhaps a tweet link to this post—though not required) with the following info: Why your church needs Series Engine. Your church name and location. Make sure we have a way to contact you (i.e., put your real email address in the email field—it will remain private). We’ll pick a winner in two weeks, on Wednesday, August 8 (so you better enter before then!).
And the winner is… Jon Stroker of Vista Community Church in Temple, Texas. Congrats!