Another simple and quick way to add value to your church is to have email addresses at the church’s domain. Many times church staff or leaders create email accounts with the provider of their internet service, or through free providers like Yahoo (Yahoo email), Google (Gmail), or Microsoft (Live Mail, Hotmail). There are several problems that could arise when using one of these solutions:
- False sense of control over the account. The account can be suspended arbitrarily, reported as spam, or hacked.
- Changes to email addresses. The provider could change your email address . For instance, when SBC became AT&T they might force you to change the domain for your email address from @sbcglobal.net to @dsl.att.com. After the change you would have to notify everyone, inevitably not contacting someone in the process.
- Not professional or credible. An email address that comes from [email protected] has questionable credibility since anyone can register email addresses at Hotmail.
Instead a church (or any business) should have email addresses at their domain. For instance, First Avenue Church would have email addresses like [email protected] or [email protected] . There are several benefits to this, including:
- The church maintains control of the email addresses. Since the church owns the domain and has full control over accounts.
- There are more choices in email addresses. Instead of sharing a domain ( @gmail.com or @yahoo.com) with millions of people and trying to find an appropriate address that’s not taken, you have your choice of addresses between a handful of people. It would be easy to have the address of [email protected]. (If you want to go a step further you could create alias emails addresses like [email protected], [email protected] or even for generic items like [email protected], [email protected]. These would then forward to the individuals in those positions.)
- Even if the church changes hosting providers, the addresses are permanent. If your church was using email through Google Apps and wanted to switch to an Exchange server on site, everyone can keep their addresses and no one would probably notice the change. A email that comes from [email protected] or [email protected] is credible, since not just anyone can register the address. This also leads to a professional appearance.
- Separate the personal and professional. If there are individuals using their personal email address for church business this would allow them to separate their personal and professional email, allow the church to maintain control, and eases staffing changes in the future.
How would you set this up? If using google apps, its very straight forward, otherwise it depends on how your domain is configured. With google apps, you need to change your MX records and then sign up for google apps. If you follow the links, their help section will walk you step by step through it.
If you are not using Google Apps, post a message in the comments and one of our great readers will be able to help you.
Take this next step for your church‘s email addresses, its easy, will help to avoid problems, and will provide a professional appearance. Stay tuned for the next Feature Focus and remember to provide feedback in the comments.
This is the second blog post in the Feature Focus series. This series will provide you with quick tips on how to refine your church’s website and online presence. Look for these posts about every other week and visit this Topic for list of past Feature Focus posts.