Can two members share the same email address?

No. This is a question we get more often, since there are often couples within a congregation who share the same email address. This seems like a simple enough request at first, but it actually creates numerous challenges within Church Social.

The primary reason for not allowing members to share an email address is because it is used as the username when logging into Church Social. It is how Church Social identifies who they are. This is especially important when members forget their passwords. Their email address is used to help them reset their password.

Email address sharing is also complicated when it comes to unsubscribes. If two accounts shared the same email address, and one of those accounts unsubscribes from something in Church Social, but the other does not, should they still receive those messages?

Church Social also gives increased access to more sensitive member information to office bearers. In these situations we strongly recommend that these members use their own Church Social account and email address, since both members may not have access to the same information.

Since almost all websites require a unique email address, it's become very common for people to have their own email addresses. Most people under the age of 50 already have their own email addresses, and we expect this trend to continue.

Free email accounts

While we understand this solution will not satisfy everyone, we generally recommend that members simply create a free email address using Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo or elsewhere.

Alias workaround

Here is a little trick you can use to work around this restriction. Most major email service providers allow you to create alias email addresses that while different, still go to the same inbox.

For example, both [email protected] and [email protected] go to the same place. You do this by simply using the plus (+) sign with Gmail. You can read more about this here.

Hotmail offers the same functionality. Both [email protected] and [email protected] go to the same place. You can read more about that here.

Yahoo doesn't offer the exact same functionality, but they do allow "disposable addresses". This will essentially accomplish the same thing. You can read more about that here.

This helps since you can use the same email address for both spouses, by using the aliased version on one of their accounts. For example, in John's Church Social account, use the main email address ([email protected]), and in Mary's Church Social account, use the aliased email address ([email protected]) instead. This way they can both access their own account when logging into Church Social, plus they can both receive messages that are directed to only them. Just keep in mind that any messages sent to both of them will appear in their email inbox twice. That is the trade-off.