Major overhaul at

New theme screenshotNew Theme
Over the weekend I put a lot of work into overhauling The previous theme was giving me errors and making WordPress upgrades a royal pain in the butt. Besides, it was way too generic. This new one is more of an e-zine style, which I know is becoming more and more popular for blogs and yes, I shamelessly jumped on the bandwagon.

If any of you guys ever want some help with custom WordPress designs, check out Michael Castilla of Michael is actually a high school student who loves to do free lance design for WP and he’s really quite good at it. He’s a very flexible guy, has great design ideas and definitely knows what he’s talking about. Contact him through his website.

New Tagline, too
While working on setting up the new theme, I realized that this blog also needs a new tagline. The thoughts of someone passionate for America’s teenagers doesn’t reflect all the interaction, questions, and feedback that this site revolves around. You guys have set the tone, topics and issues even more than I have. It actually feels more like an ongoing dialog, which is why the new tagline is, Conversations among those passionate for America’s teenagers. It’s not just about me and what I think anymore — it’s about you all and our thoughts and insights into youth ministry together. I look forward to all the conversations yet to come.

Posted on November 11, 2007

  • Nick

    Just outa curiosity, did you make this theme yourself?

  • Nick

    I guess i should've just read the post. :) i was just so distraught by the 3 column magazine layout!

  • But I'm not passionate for America's teenagers (I do want to see them know Jesus too) I'm passionate for Aussie groms. ;-)

  • yeah… what about Australian teenagers??

    of your 594 RSS readers – there are at least 2 of us who are Australian… but that makes up 50% of the comments on this post… and actually 66% of the people (the first dude commented twice)

    site looks good.

    it doesn’t feel quite as clean as the last one??
    but will be easier enough to deal with!

    keep proclaiming Jesus.


  • Tim:

    It may not be “as clean” but … WoW.

    You did a great job in the update. I like the ‘newletter” look and feel and the layout is intriquing. I jumped when I hit my link to you and saw the “new home”. It almost makes me want to jump the blogger ship and move on so I can add more but ……

  • @ Duke and Dave: You’re right, there are some UK readers, too. Maybe I should change it to, “Conversations among those passionate for reaching teenagers” or something like that. It’s replacing that “American” word I have to think about: reaching, impacting, influencing, loving, etc…?

    @ Jeff: You think the other one was cleaner? I felt like the previous theme was cluttered with images, links and everything else that was crammed in the sidebar. Hmm… that’s interesting. I also felt like good blog posts were buried too quickly into the archives after only a few more posts. With this setup I can keep featured posts on the front page a little longer along with the “Favorites” box in the sidebar. Oh, and my previous theme was messed up in Internet Explorer, too. It was REALLY messed up in IE6.

    I really want this to feel clean, though. What recommendations would you guys make for cleaning it up a little?

  • Tim:

    To me, it is a little cluttered (almost too much). With that being said, you have outstanding stuff though; so I know why to want it all there. Here are a few things, I would do (to help my old eyes)

    1. Font on Headera little Bigger / easier to read.
    2. I can not really decipher the 5 boxes under your featured box
    3. I would push your fav/comment/latest article box to the top (awesome feature).

    BTW, I wrote one of your 100 post articles today, tried to contact you but did not get a confirmation; so I do not know if you received it or if that function is working.

    I have a RSS feed question for you ….

  • Excellent Jeff! I see what you mean and I think you’re right. I’ll make those adjustments. Thanks for the input!

    I didn’t get an email from you or anything. Sometime trackback links take a couple days for Technorati to pick them up, though, especially from I see it now, though, and will add it to the list. Thanks for writing it!

    My email address is under the “Contact Me” link at the very top of the page. Try sending me a question directly.

  • Great new look, Tim. I like it. I think our Aussie colleagues make a good point. I know you’re passionate about young people in the US, but I suspect your blog is READ around the planet. As you know, I’m from Manchester in the UK. A small change in your tagline (‘reaching teenagers?’) might encourage more international contributions to some of our discussions. I think that would be an enriching experience!

    We do need to pray for Duke who seems to support Manchester City football club :-) Sorry Duke, just could’nt resist it!

  • Yeah, I plan on changing the tagline when I get home later today to something like, “Conversations among those passionate for reaching teenagers for Christ.” How does that sound? The whole “reaching teenagers for Christ” sounds a bit cliche, though, but I’ll keep thinking about it. Other suggestions?

  • Congrats on the change over!! Can I ask you how much it costs you to have your own domain address? Also how the heck did you get all of the cool sponsors?

    ps have you read a new kind of youth ministry?

  • @ Jeremy: Getting your own domain is pretty cheap. I register my domains through (don’t ever use their hosting services, though — terrible!). A .com address costs about $9.95/year, but if you use the coupon code PLIGG2 they become $6.95/year. Of course, to host your site will cost a monthly fee and those fees range from $5/month to $100/month depending on what you want and the company you use.

    As far as sponsors, I don’t have any right now. I used to, but I canceled them all last month since Google rolled out a steep pagerank hit on sites that were selling links. The other ads you see here are just from Google’s Adsense program and I get a few pennies each time someone clicks on one. I use those funds to offset the costs and expenses for maintaining and developing this site (like web hosting, email subscriber management, theme upgrades, daily backups of the site, stuff like that).

  • Hi Tim. Your new tagline sounds fine to me. I know what you mean when you say ‘it sounds a bit cliche’ but its honest and straight-forward. But hey, what do I know, someone reading this may come up with a real winner. Personally I find alternatives like ‘influencing’ a bit wishy-washy. I think we’re all in youth ministry to do a bit more! Keep up the great work.

  • As cliche as it might sound “reaching teenagers for Christ” is what we are seeking to do and that sounds great,

    @Grahame, do I smell a rag. Just jks, (3rd on the table, cant complain)

  • @Duke. You're right of course, MCFC are doing well. Hope they can keep it going.

    And just to get back on topic. Tim, have you changed the way your RSS feed works. I'm only getting the post headlines now with Bloglines and not the full post as before. I'd prefer the full-post but I'm fine if you've made the change. I only mentioned it in case there was a glitch somewhere.

  • Hmm… I’m gonna guess you should check your RSS reader’s settings because the feed is still the same. It’s still set to show full posts and it works fine for me (in Newsgator).

  • No problems. Working fine now. Seems to have righted itself without further intervention. Sorry to bother you. BTW have you seen this blog readability test

  • I just checked it out, Grahame. My blog can be understood by elementary kids! The proves that keeping it simple is working and that I’m not leaving too many people behind. :)

  • You beat me! Mine comes out at high school! A few long words must have crept in :-) Still, I’m pleased its accessible. I was reading somewhere that a few tech blogs have their rating at ‘genius’ level. I feel better knowing it’s probably not just me that doesn’t understand!

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