Oblivion, if Stratos can get his server stuff figured out, then it'd be no effort on your end. When I said that "everyone" who wants to play Minecraft multiplayer needs to get a server, what I really mean is that anyone who wants to HOST Minecraft multiplayer needs to get a server. If you just want to play with someone else, you need to get their server information, but SOMEONE involved still needs to have a server. In the case of games like Mario Kart or Halo, the big corporations host servers for us to use, but most PC games have traditionally not operated on that model.
That's why I was inclined to just rent a server. At $7-$14 per month, if we had 4-5 people interested it'd be a pretty nominal cost. Then we don't have to worry about finding and setting up a server.