God isn't bland. The Church shouldn't be, either.
Friday Four: Give ExpressionEngine a Shot

Readers of this site probably already know that the new Chapel.org is running on top of ExpressionEngine.

So, why ExpressionEngine? Here are four reasons that you may want to give it a shot for your next site.

1. Flexibility

Just about anything you can think of doing on a website can be done in ExpressionEngine. No, really.

In a nutshell, EE let’s you create as many “channels” and custom fields as you may need. A few examples may be in order. A channel can be a blog, a list of links, a photo gallery, products, magazine articles, youtube videos, and you get the idea. A custom field can be the title, an excerpt, a url, a photo, article text, author, release date, or basically anything else. So, you can create a blog channel that has fields for the title, an excerpt, and the main text, or you might create a photo gallery channel that has fields for the photo, caption, credit, and copyright information.

Getting data out of EE to display on your web pages is as simple and as flexibly as putting it in. For front-end web developers, the system is a dream come true. There are special ExpressionEngine tags that are inserted into standard HTML files where information needs to be displayed (like to show an article’s title at the top of a page). These HTML files are then saved in the system as templates. If you know how to build static HTML websites, it doesn’t take too long to become comfortable with ExpressionEngine.

To be fair, the flexibility of EE can leave you with more work than competing systems (like WordPress), particularly for simple sites and blogs. Because you build exactly what you want in ExpressionEngine, there is no way to use pre-built site themes. On the other side, for more extensive sites, starting from scratch is often faster than trying to hack a system that isn’t designed for the type of site you are trying to build.

For some more information on how ExpressionEngine works, I would recommend reading a good introduction.

2. Proven Track Record

ExpressionEngine has really gained a lot of popularity in the past year. Looking a some of the sites that have successfully implemented EE may help when it comes to making your decision. You’ll certainly be running in good company…

Large Websites

Church Websites


View the ExpressionEngine Showcase for more examples.

3. Community

A lot of people talk about the awesome community behind WordPress, but ExpressionEngine has a dedicated, talented, and professionally-supported community that rivals anything on the market. Here’s some of the great things you can find:

4. Continued Development

If the above points didn’t convince you to try ExpressionEngine, you should know that there are some big things coming. There are benefits to choosing software that has a full-time professional team behind its development.

jacob_fentressToday’s post was written by Jacob Fentress.  Jacob works for LifeWay Christian Resources where he touches everything “Threads” that appears online.  He’s an ExpressionEngine “junkie” who recently helped with the launch of Chapel.org.  You can follow him on Twitter @jfentress.

Share on TwitterShare on TumblrShare via email

  1. marcus neto (Reply) on October 9th, 2009

    For churches there really isnt another web content management system that I would suggest. I have tried Joomla, WordPress and straight HTML and EE just does it so much better. It also means I can lock down the content so that the editors cannot use a WYSIWYG editor and throw off the layout. EE simplifies site management. We are currently working on a new site for West Hills Community Church in CA and are using EE. I am even blogging about it over in our blog.

    Thanks for exposing more people to EE though.


  2. Ron R (Reply) on October 9th, 2009

    Hey Marcus you said you like it better than Joomla. I’m using Joomla to design our churches new site, can you tell me the reasons you like EE better? Give me some real life answers.

    Thanks Bro

  3. Boyink (Reply) on October 9th, 2009

    Thanks for the Train-ee mention!

  4. Duncan (Reply) on October 12th, 2009

    Really excited to see this article, we are just in the process of redeveloping our website and we have gone with a team that are building in EE!

    Very excited to see what happens in Jan when the site drops!

  5. Heidi (Reply) on October 28th, 2009

    I’m using EE as my CMS – but can’t find a way to ‘schedule” messages to my site members.
    I send regular motivational messages and would like to set these up ahead of time should I go away for the December break so that they still go out regularly.
    Can I do this somewhere?

  6. [...] Expression Engine is growing in popularity and functionality every day, and is quickly becoming the CMS of choice for many organizations. Even better, it’s only $250 bucks to get a license $99 to get a license for a non-profit! Cleve has been using EE for the Chapel since September and has had nothing but great things to say about it so far. You can read more a good breakdown about EE here. [...]

  7. Jacob Fentress (Reply) on December 2nd, 2009


    Sorry for the delay in responding (I just saw your comment).

    You can schedule articles to post whenever you’d like. The key is using the “Date” tab on the publish page. Once on that tab, you can set the “entry date” to any time you’d like, and if you set it to a future time, the entry won’t show up on your site until then.

    That is how I schedule posts when away for holidays or vacation. I hope that helps.

Connect with Facebook