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I Don't Know What I Don't Know

"I don't know what I don't know." I hear this a lot from people who want to understand MinistryPlatform and use it to its fullest capacity.

I get it. I was there once. I was once new to MinistryPlatform and I wanted to get clean data and generate reports, as well as help others use it well. After I learned the basic functionality, I felt like I was hitting a ceiling. I needed to know things that were beyond the scope of normal support.

Fortunately, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I was introduced to a contractor who had several decades of experience with SQL in the corporate world, so I had him teach me everything I didn't know. This is how I learned SQL, how to create tables and stored procedures and how to build reports.

I'm not saying everyone should learn SQL, although I've had the privilege of teaching it with some very rewarding results. One "student" of mine said her boss was really noticing her progress and the types of information she could get out of MinistryPlatform.

As a side note, one of the most powerful things you can do as a SPoC is learn "platform SQL," which means that you can add a little SQL to views to pull in data that you would not be able to do with the Advanced Search tool alone.

But back to learning ... my encouragement is to take advantage of the people who have experience and want to share it. In the long run, it will save you time and frustration. I learn best when someone takes the time to explain something to me. Take time and invest in having someone come alongside to help you.

With newer MinistryPlatform churches, I'd say the biggest needs are:

- Cleaning up data from prior database

- Learning how to get information out, for example, learning how to do advanced searches

- Understanding how event registration works

Don't hesitate to reach out to someone who can help you explore what you don't know.


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