I just recently discovered Google Voice. Google Voice is a telephony service operated by Google. It gives the user a local area code number wherever they are. This number is can be forwarded to your home phone, office phone, cell phone, or even your email. The platform is flexible enough to provide for everything from SMS text messages to transcribed Voice Mail messages. I wanted to share with you how I use it.
- It is a local number for the place I live. If you are a United Methodist Clergy there is a huge probability that you will relocate at least once in your career. Maybe even several times. Louisiana has four different area codes and many more different “local areas”. Most clergy I know keep their same cellphone number throughout their moves, and yet some local churches want their clergy to have a local number. Google Voice lets you have a local contact number.
- It is my emergency contact number. Every single church that I have been at has an answering machine. That answering machine usually has a contact number to reach in case of emergencies. When you are a solo pastor that number on the answering machine is usually your number. This is fine most of the time, but some times I want to go on vacation or take the day off. Using Google Voice I can forward the number to a colleague’s phone who is covering for me or I can forward the phone to my email and answer it when I get back.
- It is flexible. As a pastor I need things that are flexible. Using a VoIP such as the OBi200 I can set up Google Voice as the main church line. It can ring to the church office phone, forward to my cell phone, or someone else in the church’s phone. I can set up the Voice Mail box on the go to keep the message at the church updated with special upcoming events. I can check the church messages on the go so I know if someone calls the church and leaves a message.
- It is free. There is no cost associated with Google Voice except when using Google Voice to call overseas.