In Layman's Terms: Helping pastors with their email

Todd Seifert


Today (Wednesday, July 1, 2020) marked the start of a new appointive year in the Great Plains Conference and across The United Methodist Church. In Kansas and Nebraska, we have more than 100 pastors learning new names, trying to grasp local culture and history, figuring out which light switches turn on various lights and searching for where the bathrooms in the church are located.

It’s also that time of year for those who are changing appointments to make sure they still have access to their email.

I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again here. Your email is your official email for the conference. It is at this email address that you will receive correspondence from your district superintendent and from the conference office, including from the bishop.

It’s not logistically possible — at least while being good stewards of time — to type in a bunch of new email addresses to the conference’s database, so we have to stick to using the email addresses.

However, as a communications professional, I fully understand the desire and need to brand your email address with your location. If your new church has an email address linked to the church’s website address, then, of course, you want those to match. And as a pastor’s spouse, I also understand that clergy don’t have time to check multiple email accounts. So this process will save you time because you only have to check one email address.

So, here’s what you do so you can still have people send email to your address and have it forward to your new church’s address. We’ll look at the most likely scenario by showing an example of how to forward from an Outlook account to another email.
First, you have to go to Outlook on Office 365 (check further down in this blog for info on how to get started if you have Outlook as an app or software on your computer and don’t use the web interface of Office 365). The URL is

In the upper right corner, you will see what I call the “settings wheel.” That will open a pane on the right of your screen. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click on “View all Outlook settings.”

A new window will open. Find the link for “Rules” and click it.
Now you click the “+” symbol next to “Add new rule.” Look at No. 1, and give the rule a name. I suggest “Forward GP email” as the rule name so you can keep it straight from other rules you may want to add to manage your email.
Next, look at No. 2, “Add a condition.” Scroll all the way to the bottom and select “Apply to all messages.” This will tell the Great Plains account to forward anything that comes to your inbox to forward automatically to your other email account.
Finally, look down at No. 3 “Add an action.”
Then use the drop-down menu to active the “Forward to” rule. This will allow you to type in your church’s email address. Double check to ensure there are no typos. This process works the same if you want to forward your Great Plains Conference email to a Gmail or Yahoo or some other email account.

Finally, click “Save” in the top right. From that point forward, your email should forward to your new church’s address.
If you don’t use Office 365 and are on the actual Outlook app or software on your computer, you start by going to “Tools” in the upper navigation bar.
Next, you click on “Rules.” Find your email address and click on it. Once it is highlighted, you click the “+” symbol at the bottom. Again, give this rule a name. Again, I suggest giving it a name of “Forward GP email.”
On the first drop-down menu, select “All Messages.” Then, under “Do the following,” select “Forward to” from the drop-down menu, and type your new church’s email address into the text box to the right.
Click “OK,” and you should be all set. Some other email providers have slightly different setups, but in general, you’re looking first for settings and then either for a menu that says “Forwarding” or “Rules.” In most cases, these are fairly easy to find.

If you do run into problems beyond what is explained here, please reach out to our IT specialists with the General Council on Finance and Administration GCFA by calling 1-855-700-9343.

Hopefully, this quick run-through of how to forward your email will help you keep tabs on your Great Plains Conference email — again, the address from which official correspondence from the conference office, your DS and bishop will come — while only having to check your local church’s email account.

Best wishes as you embark on a new chapter in your ministry. And prayers for continued guidance from the Holy Spirit as you discern the ministry needs of your new congregation and mission field.
Todd Seifert is communications director for the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church. He can be reached via phone at 785-414-4224, or via email at Opinions expressed are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Great Plains Annual Conference or The United Methodist Church. Follow him on Twitter, @ToddSeifert.