Checkout Google Apps

October 14, 2007 — Leave a comment

There are all sorts of ways to handle setting up e-mail for your users in your church using your church’s domain name. Many of them involve a bit of a cost, with either your domain name registrar or your internet service provider charging for each account needed.

I suggest checking out Google Apps instead.

Now I confess to you that I am a Google lover. In fact, I probably should go to the High Voltage Tattoo shop in LA and let Kat Von D tattoo the Google logo on my thigh. There are good reasons for this, chiefly that Google seems to offer simple yet useful applications for free (using a relatively unobtrusive advertising model to fund these apps).

Google Apps for your domain Standard Edition is a great solution for most churches in that it links the domain that you own to the Google mail and applications system. The Standard Edition (which is free) uses the Gmail system as the infrastructure for providing e-mail to your users. Your users can obviously use the web based Gmail interface for receiving, sending, and storing their e-mail (up to 2 gigabytes), however Gmail allows POP and SMTP access, allowing you to use external e-mail clients like Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.

There is no limit to how many accounts you can setup with this system, and the beauty is that Google maintains the web servers, and more importantly, uses the power of their system to help manage spam. I have generally found GMail’s spam filtering to be quite good, so this can be very useful for your users.

There is a large church here in town that I know that has attempted to maintain their own e-mail servers for the past few years, and I hear story upon story from their staff about how their e-mail is down, their server has been attacked, yada, yada, yada. This church is spending a large amount of money to IT support to help them deal with these issues. Using Google Apps turns these issues over to a multibillion dollar company with technical resources out the wazoo, allowing them to guarantee a 99.9% uptime for e-mail. The system isn’t complicated — it just works.

There is a bit of a learning curve in setting up the system, but one you figure it out it is very easy to maintain. Frankly, I think that all congregations that are struggling to deal with e-mail solutions should quickly run out and sign up for the standard edition of Google Apps.

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