3 Reasons Your Church Should NOT Use Nucleus | Ep. #055

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

March 12th, 2018

Nucleus may not be for everyone. Brady talks about the structure of Nucleus, why it was built this way, and who it was created for.

If you haven’t already, head over to ProChurchTools.com/Nucleus to download our 7 Church Website Page Templates. Pre written copy structured the exact way we would if we had these pages on our websites.

What’s In This Session?

  • Every platform has their pros and cons (0:47)
  • When you’re deciding on how you want to build a platform, you have to make choices (1:26)
  • #1 – Pre-determined framework (3:22)
  • #2 – Third-party plugins (5:13)
  • #3 – Cost (6:24)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Brady Shearer: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Nucleus, a new kind of website builder for churches. From single-click templates to advanced integrations, Nucleus is unlike anything else. Nucleus opens on March 20th. Head to nucleus.church to join the launch list. Why just have a website, when you could have a Nucleus?

Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where, in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while we navigate the biggest communications shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

I’m your Host, Alex Mills. I’m joined, as always, by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today, we’re talking about three reasons your church should not … Am I reading this right? Should not use Nucleus?

Brady Shearer: That’s right, yeah. We have spent a couple of episodes of Pro Church Daily talking about different website platforms that churches can use. We’ve talked about their weaknesses. Namely, we did an episode on the dangers of WordPress, and the weaknesses of that platform for churches, as well as Squarespace and the weaknesses of that platform.

I think, for posterity’s sake, it’s only fair for us also to do a critique on the weaknesses of the Nucleus platform, which is our church website builder that we’ve spent about a year and a half developing and finally ready to unleash it into the world very soon, open to the public. The truth is, is that when it comes to website builders, each of them has their own pros and cons.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: You have to make certain choices when you’re building platforms, which ones that you want to prioritize. To use WordPress as an example, perhaps Steven Gliebe, who creates great website WordPress themes for church said it best. In that, “WordPress is like the ultimate platform when it comes to flexibility and customization.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: That’s why about a quarter of all websites in the world are powered by WordPress because you can do a $100,000 like custom eCommerce site. You can do a $50 blog with a theme. You can build a $15,000 blog, like we did with the Nucleus blog. It can be so many things, which is its biggest pro. The downside of that is that with that much flexibility also comes complexity.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: If you don’t understand the WordPress platform, it can be very intimidating because it has so many options. It’s not super user friendly, or at least it’s not super simple when you first approach it.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: So that would be one of the choices and trade offs of using WordPress. On the flip side, Squarespace would be probably the opposite.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: It is so simple to use. It also offers the most upfront affordability, like $19 a month for a subscription. But on the flip side, you’re very limited with the feature set, especially when it comes to churches because Squarespace wasn’t built for churches. It’s a platform that’s built to reach the biggest, widest group possible.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: You can see this with Squarespace’s most recent ad, their ad campaign. They’ve got Keanu Reeves.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: These have been everyone. It’s a great ad campaign.

Alex Mills: That’s hysterical.

Brady Shearer: And the whole idea is, create a website for your passion. Squarespace has reached the pinnacle of saturation. Where now, they’re just trying to get every single human to set up a Squarespace site. Look. You can have a site hustle, too. Right. And so with Nucleus, we’re on a completely other side of the spectrum, where our website platform was built for scratch from zero, specifically for churches. I don’t think you’re going to see Keanu Reeves in any of our ads.

Alex Mills: Although we’d love to have him.

Brady Shearer: Who knows? And so let’s talk about the three biggest weaknesses for churches when it comes to Nucleus.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: The first is that Nucleus has a very pre-determined framework. So similar to Squarespace in that the themes are kind of how they’re set up, but even to a greater extent. The Nucleus framework is locked in stone. Basically, you’ve got two big image containers at the top. You’ve got a headline, logo, your featured card, and then you’ve got all the other Nucleus cards underneath.

And so when we were building the platform, we made the decision to prioritize certain design features that we thought made the biggest difference and impact on website design. We decided to allocate our resources there, rather than create, let’s say, four different themes.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Now that isn’t to say that we’re not going to add more themes and more flexibility when it comes to the style and the grid of Nucleus down the road, but what we did was we said, “Okay. We’re going to lock in this structure and framework because we think it’s the best way to make first impressions, and we’re going to allow churches to customize the logo, and the headlines, and the typography, and the colors. And, most importantly, when it comes to first impressions, the imagery.”

There have been so many tests and studies confirmed again, and again, and again, you can find them all at blog.nucleus.church if you want to see the references. The best way to make a good first impression is smiling photos of peoples’ faces.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: We prioritize that with the Nucleus framework. It is so image-based, so you get kind of like this grid, this framework, and then you just fill in all of your images. There’s a big image hero shot, and then there’s the feature card, it has another hero shot, and then every single Nucleus card has an overlay, another image because that’s the best way to customize your Nucleus.

But if you’re the type of person that wants to tinker, and wants to like to move things around, “Oh, I wish I could move this button over here, and I could flip the grid this way,” Nucleus probably isn’t going to be the best platform for you because we’ve prioritized other things that we tried our very best to look at the data, see make the most difference. But when it comes to your preferences, that might not align with you.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: Secondly, Nucleus doesn’t allow any third party plugins. This is one of the best things about WordPress.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Is that it’s this giant open-source platform, and so many people can build on top of it. You’ve got these other developers that are working on the mainframe, and they allow you to do this, and you could build this. Nucleus doesn’t allow that. Nucleus is similar to Squarespace in that we are only going to build features that we see fit for our users, and we’re going to intentionally lock down the platform, which helps when it comes to security.

It allows us to self-host. It has a bunch of other positives. But it doesn’t allow you to install these third party plugins. So for instance, there are features within Nucleus that are proprietary to Nucleus, like the Sermon Engine that we’re building, right. You can add, using a third party plugin in WordPress. They have certain sermon engine plugins. But with Nucleus, we’ve built that within our own platform.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: This allows us a bunch of flexibility when it comes to, like I said, hosting, and security, and making sure everything is above board, but it does limit, again, those additional features. So if you’re the type of person that wants to like add all of these different plugins, and like make the flexibility of your site, again, to a crazy level, maybe your church is better off with WordPress.

Final thing want to consider with Nucleus is that it’s not going to offer, at least when it comes to a Squarespace, or a [inaudible 00:06:29], or a [inaudible 00:06:30], the most upfront affordability. If Nucleus … Sorry. If Squarespace is like, let’s say 20 bucks a month, maybe Nucleus is going to be four or five times that. Maybe 75 or a $100 a month. And the reason for that is that Nucleus is going to come with a certain set of features that you won’t find in just an out of the box regular WordPress … Sorry, website builder that wasn’t made for churches.

And so really, it comes down to, are these features enough for you to spend that little bit of extra money, are the single-click templates, is the Sermon Engine worth it, or what about the message notes that are fileable and people can fill out their own message notes, then email them, those message notes to themselves at the end of the service? Or, what about the integrations with the planning center, with tithing, built-in giving?

Are all of those things worth it? You’re not going to get any of those things with a Squarespace, and so if you’re not the type of church, pastor, or leader that really prioritizes those specific church features in a website that you won’t find on an out of the box website builder that wasn’t made for ministries and churches, then maybe it’s not worth that extra cost. We’re still talking the difference between 20 bucks a month and like 65, 75, 99 bucks a month, so it’s not like it’s a huge jump.

It’s still all under a 100 each month, but if you’re going to try to save those extra 50 bucks each month because those features don’t matter to you. If they don’t matter to you, then you probably don’t want to get on the Nucleus platform because there’s no reason for you to pay for all these extra features that, while we think are awesome, maybe you don’t.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and my job description here at Pro Church Tools is pretty extensive. I do a bunch of stuff, but one of the things, one of the major things I do here, is I work on support for Nucleus. So I’m having these kinds of conversations almost every day. People coming to us who aren’t beta members and who aren’t already in the platform saying, “Hey, you guys are launching. If you’re listening or watching this before March 20th, when launch to the public. Hey, you’re launching soon. Our church uses this platform, or this platform. Or, we use this platform. We don’t like it. We’re looking to a new platform. Why should we use Nucleus over Squarespace, or WordPress, or [inaudible 00:08:26], or whatever.”

So we’re having these conversations every day. Just being able to talk these things out with churches, and then for everyone who’s listening and watching, watching this episode right now, just kind of evaluating, “What does our church prioritize? What does our church need out of a website?” And looking at all the options you have available to you, from WordPress, to Squarespace, to Nucleus, to whatever.

Each platform has its pros, has its cons, and I think we’ve done our best to lay them all out in a fair way, and we’re excited for what Nucleus has to offer to this website game, and especially for churches. Because we’re church people who built this for churches, and so for the people, the majority of people we’re talking to right now, that’s what excites us about this platform. Is that we think it’s built for you, to set you up for your best success.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, and at the end of the day, it comes down to this. Nucleus is a new kind of website builder that’s offering features and functionalities within an affordable website builder that has never existed before. And if those things matter to you, then Nucleus could be, probably is a platform that would make sense for your church and your ministry. But, that doesn’t mean that Squarespace and WordPress don’t work for other churches.

Alex Mills: Yeah, of course.

Brady Shearer: Nothing is a one size fit all solution, except for WordPress, if you have the money and the developers to make it yours. And so everything has its pros and cons, and we’re not here, or at least not trying to stay here and be like, “Nucleus is the correct option for every church,” because that would be arrogant and simply untrue.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: We want to make sure that you’re aware of, “Okay. I’m going to go with Nucleus, because it has this features that I really value. I want that planning center integration. I want that ability to fill out a connect card, and have that person immediately added to my planning center, and I want those single click templates, and I want someone to sit in-service and be able to fill out message notes as they listen to the pastor’s sermon, and then send them to their email for later use. I want the ability to have my sermons presented in an amazing way through the Sermon Engine that’s launching soon.”

“I want the ability to have these features that have never existed in website builders before. And because of that, I’ll pay the extra couple bucks each month. And because of that, I’m okay with having a little bit less flexibility when it comes to the moving one section here, or there, because I know that the most important parts of my website are the photos, and are the imagery, and I’m going to customize my colors, and logos.” So at the end of the day, more options for churches is better.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And so that’s what we’re trying to do with Nucleus.

Alex Mills: There you go.

Brady Shearer: If you want to learn even more about Nucleus, you can, of course, head over to the website, Nucleus.church. We also have a blog put together called 40 Reasons Churches Love Nucleus at blog.nucleus.church, if you want to see more about those unique features that really make Nucleus set apart and special. That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.

Hey, thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, head to prochurchtools.com/nucleus to download our Ultimate Library of Church Website Page Templates, pre-written copy, structured the exact way we would do if we had these pages on our websites. ProChurchTools.com/Nucleus is the place to download those.