This month Ministry to Parents kicks off a new theme, Communication. As church leaders, we spend our days exchanging information through email, text, or in person. So we created a series on Mistakes Leaders Make in Communication with Parents, Leadership Staff, Volunteers, and Students. From the podcast to the blogs, we’ve got you covered.
4 Mistakes Leaders Make in Communication with Parents
Student camp starts next week. You’re excited and can’t wait to spend some time with the kids you’ve been praying for! You check registrations and are stunned to see so few names on the list.
Your calls to parents stir responses like the following:
“What are the dates for camp again?”
“I forgot to register my son/daughter – can I do that now?”
“Timmy just now told me about the meeting you had last night. Will there be another one?”
Why did they wait so long? We’ve flooded them with info.
Moms and dads are frustrated, too.
Why don’t they do a better job of informing parents?
Good leadership demands clear, frequent communication because good communication is one of the best ways to serve and minister to our parents. Making assumptions about our communication is so easy to do, but leaves us open to common mistakes.
Assuming parents not only received the communication but also actually read/watched/listened to your communication.
Stop and think about how you read your personal emails. Many times, you probably just scan through them. In light of that realization, re-think how you prepare your communication. Take your main points you want to communicate, highlight them, and link them back to the next step. For example, if you want parents to register for camp, there is no need to cast a camp vision. Just give them the link to the registration page. If they need more info on camp, provide that on the registration page. By making your communication less wordy, you not only help yourself, but you also are serving busy families.
Assuming parents know where to go to find information.
Get in the habit of having a “landing page.” All your information for everything you do should point back to one place, such as a website. Posting the next step on social media? Link it to the website. Posting a link in an email? Use the website address. Parents may not remember where they saw an important date or the specific info on an event, but they should always know they can go straight to your website and won’t miss anything.
Assuming the student informed their parents of the upcoming or recent communication.
Not only do parents have a lot of communication to juggle, but so do their kids. Maybe you made the most creative announcement about an upcoming lock-in and used a great video to help promote it. Chances are as soon as you got up to make the announcement, most of the students were distracted by their friend next to them and didn’t hear any of it. It will only help our families we minister to if we over-communicate to the parents everything that we first communicate to the students. And speaking of over-communicating…
Assuming parents do not need or want any more reminders.
Just when you think you have done enough, remind them one more time. You can do that through a brief one-liner email, “Hey Parents! You’ve got three more hours to register for camp!” Don’t forget to include the registration link. You could also use a social media countdown reminder or even a quick text! Don’t worry about bugging the parents with too many reminders. You will more than likely be thanked for the extra reminders.
There will always be families who miss all the communication you send their way no matter what you do. When you run into those situations, stop and take time to listen. Most families have a lot going on in their lives. Think of these conversations about miscommunication as another opportunity to minister to them. And while you’re in the discussion, ask them how you can better communicate with them!
Michelle Craddock has been in ministry for 15 years and is on staff full time at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, serving as the Parent Equipping Director. Her passion is to equip parents to be the primary spiritual influence in the lives of their children. She and her husband Michael have 2 boys, Brock (12) and Briggs (10). They love to watch and play sports and, most recently, a good game of Bananagrams.
Grab your Communication Resource in the Toolbox: Build a Parent Ministry Plan.
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