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#005: The Power of Parent Communication with Michelle Craddock

In this episode, Elisabeth and Jeremy discuss the power of communication and its ability to build or break trust with parents (i.e., the police show up in the church parking lot looking for a student on a youth trip.). They invite Michelle Craddock, a full-time staff member dedicated solely to parent ministry, into the conversation where she offers sound, proved, and practical tips. Also, a fan-favorite is back with another episode of “Parent Calls” with Helicopter Heath calling Amy Diller from Michigan.

This week’s blog post: 4 Mistakes Leaders Make in Communication with Parents 

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[Here are some highlights of our interview with Michelle Craddock]

Michelle Craddock
It's almost like if you think that you've communicated enough, do it all one more time and as often as you can, because, one of the assumptions that we can make as leaders and in churches is that we don't want to bog down there box or we don't want to just sell stuff on social media or we don't want to just send them another text message or hands of another flyer. But it's serving them by giving them more reminders.

Michelle Craddock
How do we deal with that is we remember that families are getting all kinds of information, whether it's from school or some extracurricular activities, they're going to miss stuff, they don't think about church 24/7 like we do. They're thinking about their kids and they're thinking about the school and their extracurricular activities and they're thinking about maybe the camp that they're supposed to sign up for. But there's so much information that comes their way that when they come to me and say, I didn't get that email or you didn't remind me again, I needed another reminder.

Michelle Craddock
I just say that you just need to sit and listen to the families and listen to everything that they're dealing with so that then you can as a leader, you can empathize with them instead of just jumping straight to. "Well, you're not reading your emails enough" or "you're not paying attention to the flyers that I'm handing out." It's better to just go ahead and figure out a way to empathize with families instead of jumping to well you're you're just not reading the information I'm giving you.

Michelle Craddock
I think that's really the best way to deal with it, because we can we can send out a ton of information and we can be really, really good at that. And I think for the most part, we are really good at it, but in order to deal with the families that come to us with the struggles of "I'm not getting your information", the best thing to do is just sit and listen so that we can empathize with them and that ministers to them as well.

Michelle Craddock
We started realizing that we could use text messaging, our church has the text message system and however it works, I don't know. But we we're like, OK, we're sending emails, we're posting on social media. We're sending reminder emails. We're handing out flyers in the bulletin. There's a verbal announcement in the main service all these ways. But once we started implementing the day before or a week before or like registration ends tonight text message, parents were like, oh, my gosh, thank you for sending me that text message, that was really the only thanks that we got as far as communication.

Michelle Craddock
And but we could send the short text message of, "registration ends tonight, don't forget, because we'd already sent them all that other stuff. So they knew exactly what we're talking about. They knew exactly where to go. And that last little push of a text message was like, thank you so much. So it's really a combination of every single way that you can get in front of parents that really serves them well.

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