Don’t Waste Email Addresses. Use Google to Save Money.
The label of church planter and “techie” are not always synonymous. But the label of church planter and “cheap” go together like peanut butter and jelly. Even if you are a tech-savvy church planter, you can use Google to save money with this little trick. And who doesn’t like to save money?
Google Apps & Email
A few moments after you are born, you get an email address…(slight oversimplification). When you plant a church, you usually want an email address too—one connected to your domain name, like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re smart (and we both know you are), you use Google Apps to host your church email. The reason you do this is because it’s cheap ($5/mo per user), reliable, and comes with a host of other useful features (Google Apps like Google Docs, Spreadsheets, etc). Add to that, Google’s dominance means there are numerous 3rd-party email apps that work with Gmail. Thus, you can easily find one that fits you well. (More on that in another article.)
Save $ With This Top Secret Trick
Assuming you’re with me on the ‘Google Apps Express train’, here is where we start saving you money. The trick is to take advantage of the ‘alias’ option connected to Google Apps Mail (which is what you may think of as ‘Gmail’). Before you start thinking of yourself as the next Jason Bourne, it’s not that kind of alias.
First, I’ll tell you what we’re going to do by creating this alias. Then, I’ll point you to a resource to help you to do this (and more) in a matter of minutes.
What Is an ‘Alias’
The ‘alias’ in your Google Apps user account is like a nickname. For example, I’ve gathered a few nicknames through the years. ‘Raw-B’ is my street name for when I need to keep it real. Or ‘Raw-Dawg’ for my more informal street relationships. Then there’s ‘Dobber’ from my younger days. And ‘Crabby Rabby’ for when my attitude with my wife sours (which may or may not have occurred a time or two in our 21 years of marriage).
The beauty is, you can create as many ‘nicknames’ or aliases as you want for any given user.
When to Use an Alias
Here are some common ways I setup aliases for many of my Robby Fowler Design church clients. You can use the approach matching your circumstances.
In the beginning of your church plant when it is just you, set up these aliases for your account…
- Create an alias for whatever general email account you use like ‘info@…’ or ‘contact@…’
When you’ve got a volunteer or paid assistant helping you…
- Create a user for your assistant and give him/her the general aliases of ‘info@…’ or ‘contact@…’
When you have a volunteer or paid ministry leader, like a Children’s Director…
- Create an account for him/her (like ‘email@example.com’), and then assign him/her an alias of ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ (or whatever name you use for your children’s ministry).
- You can apply the same approach for ‘worshiparts@…’ or ‘youth@…’ or ‘missionalcommunities@…’ and any other similar position.
When you have an event like a men’s retreat or membership class…
- Create an alias like ‘men@…’ or ‘membership@…’ or whatever the name of your event. Associate this alias for whoever is organizing the event (you or another leader with an email account
The beauty is that any email sent to the ‘alias’ automatically goes to the associated email address. Take the last scenario as an example. You create an alias of ‘email@example.com’ for your email address. You promote that address for the event (IE “to join us, send an email to…”). You check your email like normal. Viola. Any email sent to the alias for the membership class is right there in your inbox.
Get Help Now
Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of setting this up yourself. You can do this. You just need a little help. Good thing there’s a Google Apps Starter Kit from Church Planter Starter Kit to walk you through the process. Grab the starter kit and get setup in a matter of minutes. The kit will show you how to setup Google Apps and Aliases. It’s a simple PDF with screen caps showing you exactly what to do. If you know how to point, click, and type, you can knock this out and start saving money today.
Everybody likes to save money, especially church planters. Google Apps charges $5 per user, per month. Don’t throw away $60 a year on ‘email address’ that is not associated with a real person. Use an alias and take your wife out on a date with the savings!
I’m just like you. I don’t like doing things that make me say ‘yuck.’ Maybe the thought of email setup makes you gag. Your palms start to sweat. You feel your ineptitude might compromise the entire world wide web of inter-connected computers. Email setup doesn’t do that to me. But large groups of strangers do. I’m more task-driven than people-driven. Boiling it down, sometimes people make me think ‘yuck.’ So I take matters into my own hands and avoid the yucky stuff.
The amount of personal ‘yuck’ I bring to the table is indescribable. If pictures are worth a thousand words, then the cross confirms I’m infinitely ‘yucky’. Our gracious Savior stepped into our yuck. He was proactive. He was brave. He was determined. He took responsibility, depended on the Spirit, trusted the Father, and dove head-first into my yuck—including the fury of the Father’s wrath my yuck deserves. Jesus frees us from the fears that cause us to get ‘stuck in our yuck.’ Whether the task is small or the challenge is big, Jesus is with us and has all authority over our procrastination or reluctance.