Bible School
This post marks our 53rd consecutive Monday Memo. Which makes it the 1 year anniversary of our first post. That's a milestone, for sure. And as such, it is an invitation to reflect back on the preceding year.

Of course, FAST has been active online, and serving a great community of believers for nearly 20 years! But this past year has marked a major turning point in our ministry. And it's resulted in a decision I'll be announcing just a bit further down.

It all started in the fall of 2016, when I providentially stumbled on to a course about how to do online training more effectively. That course opened my eyes to a number of key principles I had not been implementing well:

1) A design emphasizing simplicity in the user experience
2) Consistent and meaningful communication with members
3) Tools for an engaging and interactive community

I realized our website had become too complex through the years, our blog posts had been sporadic and did not always include valuable content. And our members were scattered out among more than 20 classes, effectively isolating them from one another.

So I began to think about ways to make changes in these areas.

First, I did a complete revamp of our site, simplifying the navigation dramatically and streamlining out more than half the features on our old site. We launched that new site one year ago this week. And the feedback I received quickly confirmed what has since become a cornerstone of our design philosophy: less is more.

Next, I made the commitment to begin publishing one solid post each week for our members. And for 52 weeks now, I've been posting away. Some weeks I recycled prior posts, if they happened to reinforce a challenge we were promoting. But for the most part, it has been brand new material. And the increased engagement we saw soon validated this priority as well.

And last, we canceled all our individual classes, and chose to focus on one thing at a time. First, the Breakout Memory Challenge--which turned out to be a smashing success. Then Revive 2017, which had more than 1200 participants--our biggest event ever. Then the Journey. And other challenges since. Through it all we've been testing, tinkering, and tweaking every aspect of how we do training. And it has been a great education.

And it has led to real success. Our membership has grown to more than 11,000. Our active mailing list has nearly doubled. And more members have become partners, and more churches have become training centers than ever before. In fact, we've had almost as much growth this past year, emphasizing these three principles, as the preceding 20 years combined!

Which leads to a major announcement:

For the first time in the history of our ministry, my wife and I are in a position to give ourselves full-time to FAST. Between growth at FAST and growth in our church, it has become impossible to do both effectively. And while we love the churches we serve dearly, we feel a personal responsibility to support the success of FAST. And so, after much prayer, we've decided to make the decision to transition to caring for our online community.

It is not going to be easy. We will be relocating to a different part of the country where the cost of living is less. We will be downsizing to a smaller home. Our income will decrease. And most painful of all, we will be leaving a wonderful conference, and many great friends here in Illinois.

But we are convinced God is calling us to make this change. We have always believed God has a special purpose for FAST, as a supporting ministry. And Vi and I have a special calling to serve in that role. The growth of our ministry not only makes this possible, but also a necessity. It demands our full attention. And so we have made the decision to go forward.

What does that mean for the future? For the next few months, we'll still be in transition. We've purchased a home in North Dakota, and have a lot of work to do to get it ready for us to move in. We also have a number of things we need to finish up here in Illinois. All that will take some time.

But ultimately it should mean even more growth for FAST:

  • More time for study and research
  • Further simplification of our site
  • Several exciting new training tracks
  • A bigger social media presence
  • New video content
  • Quicker responses to bug reports
  • Development of new training materials
  • More speaking engagements
  • New tools for community interaction
  • And much more...

Actually, we have a significant upgrade to our site coming out this week (hopefully), to celebrate this one year milestone. But it's just the first step in a deeper and more focused commitment to serve you personally as you seek to climb higher in your walk with God.

We solicit your prayers as we make this change. And we will do our best to keep you posted each step of the way.

The past 12 months have been an amazing adventure here at FAST. We trust the next 12 months will be even better!


How has the last year been for you at FAST? Have you appreciated specific changes we've made? If so, which? What would you like to see in the months ahead? Share a thought or two in the comments below...

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Posted by Dan Vis on 10/11/17 - Coach
Not sure we will still be here Zewdi, but if not we can definitely keep in touch here at FAST! :)
Posted by Zewdi Isaac Enbom on 10/10/17
Thank you Pastor Dan. We sure had great time at the General Conferance. Hope to see you in mid December otherwise I wish you all the best during your move and God's guidance to everything you endeavour to accomplish.

Have a blessed day.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/09/17 - Coach
Thank you so much Zewdi! I didn't realize you were there my first week at North Aurora. Though I remember that day very well--it was so exciting. But change always is, and we are excited about the change ahead too.

Thank you for your prayers, your friendship, and the great ethnic food we've enjoyed more than once with you! If we don't see each other in North Aurora, maybe we can do another General Conference together. That sure was fun, wasn't it?
Posted by Zewdi Isaac Enbom on 10/09/17
Congratulations on your decision. I remember when I came to North Aurora Church in 2010 it was your first day, time flies very quickly. I will really miss seeing you both during my visits to see my family in Aurora.

If I judge from the discipleship courses you already provide, I can sense that it is your calling to be a teacher and now that you have decided to make it a full time ministry, I am sure God has a special blessing in store for you and your family. Will always remember you in my prayers.

For me this has been the most exciting year in my life, it was very challenging at times but it was also very motivating. I am already looking forward to next year’s programe.

May God bless you richly in this new endeavour,

Posted by Dan Vis on 10/08/17 - Coach
Hey, really appreciate that Ajay! I think that is one of the things we've really tried to focus on. And actually, I have some ideas for really trying to be even more intentional about that in our training programs. Can't wait for 2018!
Posted by Ajay Nenavathu on 10/08/17
Hi Dan and Vi
Thank you for all your time you have put into practical teaching ... that is the biggest thing between this site and others ... They have really helped putting the teachings into practice...
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/06/17 - Coach
Thanks Elvis. It will be a big step but we trust God is leading. :)
Posted by elvis ronald sumanti on 10/06/17
What a decision..... May FAST continue to be a great blessing to finishing His work..

Will keep you in our prayer..
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/05/17 - Coach
Thank you Joyce! It is exciting. Can't wait to get started on lot's of new ideas...
Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 10/04/17
Dan, this is great news and I am so thankful for the ministry you have given already, I pray that it go forward faster and better than before. What a new adventure with God!
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/04/17 - Coach
What a wonderful testimony Ann! So glad you have had such success. I'm excited that we are going to run our Memory Challenge again this November. Let's pray it helps even more people get into memorizing!
Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 10/04/17
Congratulations on your decision. I often wondered how you could be a full time pastor AND do FAST. That was not ideal. I really did not become active until March 1 for the memory challenge and I love the tool that lets me print out verses. This aspect alone has been a tremendous value to me and God has blessed me with over 130 verses so far! May God bless you as you branch out in faith into full time FAST ministry. The Monday memos are great.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/04/17 - Coach
Thanks again everyone Shanthi, Carole, Blessing. Appreciate so much everyone's encouragement, support, and prayers. I do believe this next year will be the best ever for FAST!
Posted by Blessing on 10/03/17
Bro Dan,
Good evening to you and my dear sister.
I'm really humbled by your commitment in accepting the convictions God has revealed to you both.
I pray our Almighty God to continue to bless your efforts and grant you more successes as you serve Him diligently.
I am very convinced that He will surely supply you all your needs according to His riches on glory. Amen.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 10/03/17
Dan, I am thankful for all I have been learning, since I started with FAST.
I will be praying for you and your wife.
You are moved by Jesus, and HE will bless your faithfulness to HIs direction. Let us all keep one another in prayer, as we grow together, and continue to learn how to share HIM with others.
Blessings to you and your family,
Posted by Shanthi Solomon on 10/03/17
FAST is such a blessing in my life. As you step out boldly into the ministry that God has called you for, I pray that you will experience His continued leading. Thank you for being used of The Lord in my life,
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/03/17 - Coach
Wow! Thanks everyone for all the positive feedback and encouragement! Such a great support to us!

Joy, thanks so much. All the best in Madagascar! Maybe we'll get our first training center there one day...

Sunny, yes exactly. One of the factors behind this decision, was a sense of the urgency of the time, and a desire to be in a quieter location where we can seek God with less distractions.

John, I actually have a whole challenge I'm working on that focuses on Christ's method of reaching people, but the gist of it is learning to approach ministry from the perspective of those we serve, rather than what we want to accomplish. It's surprisingly difficult to get out of our own heads, and into someone else's. Not sure when that will come out, but I'm super eager to launch it. Just have a jam packed calendar at FAST for the next few months.

Busi, thank you! You have been a great encouragement to me, seeing your commitment and sacrifice. May the coming year be even better for you!

Deborah, thank you so much! You and Steve have been such dear friends we miss you still and think about you so often. We will be closer after the move, but not close enough... :)

Yes, Qing, I think our post validator is not working quite like it should. Something changed. Another little bug. Best to manually check comments for the moment. I think the forum works how you want, but need to find a way to include comments on the challenges also. That's coming. And a great idea for the engine. It's not yet on my to do list, but I will put it there. Might be tricky, but hopefully it's doable. :)

And to everyone I didn't specifically mention, thanks again for your kind words and prayers: Sarita, Colette, Berith, Clarris, Margaret. Continue to pray especially for the sale of our house. That's the last big thing that needs to happen.
Posted by Margaret Ann Major on 10/03/17
Praying for the success of your full time Ministry in FAST Dan and Vi. A great leap of faith may you be wonderfully rewarded and blessed.
Posted by Qing Ling on 10/03/17 - Coach
How weird I had typed up a whole comment and I thought it posted but now I see it's not here! :/
I'll try to remember now what feedback I had ...besides the obvious excitement for you Dan and Vi...this is such a natural progression in ministry. Sad for the churches you are leaving but big YAY for your international congregation, Dan!!!
Thanks for the prompt about Journey Resources Berith..I forgot about that useful page!!

Because of FAST Missions, my 10++ yrs old relationship with God became personal and real. Because of the November BMC, my dead scripture memorization routine was revived and I can now truly call it a permanent lifestyle and not a one time event! I look forward to the awesome things God will do around the world through FAST with Dan and Vi committed to it full-time!

Without a doubt the weekly memos has helped me stay connected with FAST.
Wishlist: a single notifications page where all comments posted in any section of FAST (e.g. multiple extra forums started by students in classes) appears in chronological order.
To be able to review verses one by one...not have to do them all in one sitting. E.g. split 40 daily verses to 20 in morning, 20 in evening.

Videos? Bring it on!

Posted by Diane Castanon on 10/03/17 - Coach
Yes! Dan I’m excited there will be another Breakout Memory Challenge. I plan on signing up again!
Posted by Clarris Magadza on 10/02/17
This is great news Dan. Praying for you and Vi as you embark on this important venture. Philippians 4:19But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.. God bless you and thank you for all you have done so far. Looking forward to more wonderful challenges and activities at Fast.
Posted by Deborah Gutierrez on 10/02/17
Dan and Vi, very excited for this new page in your journey! So thankful for how God has used FAST in my life to speak to my heart and reach me years ago and how I am still being motivated and blessed through FAST today. I've been going through Survival Kit with a friend here in Northern California and I'm so grateful to be reminded of these invaluable lessons again. Thankful you will both have more time to dedicate to FAST and by God's grace will continue to touch many more lives for Him. Wish we were there to help you move. I'm sure you will be missed!! We miss you both too!

I pray God grant you His joy and peace and grace as you transition from home to home.

“Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭105:3‬ ‭KJV
Posted by Berith Bermejo on 10/02/17
Hi Sunny. To find the previous Monday Memo posts and Challenges, just go to The Journey > Resources. Here's a quick link to it: Journey Resources

There you will find Articles, which lists all the Monday Memos, Challenges and other resources you can also check out. :)
Posted by Berith Bermejo on 10/02/17
Exciting, Dan! Praying for you and Vi as you move and focus on FAST Missions. Looking forward to the new things and improvements in FAST. This ministry has been and continues to be a blessing to me. God bless you more!
Posted by Busi Maguga on 10/02/17
Thank you Ps Dan, your wife and the FAST team. May God continue to bless all your efforts. It has truly been an amazing year, glad God led me to Fast a year ago. My Faith has grown in leaps and bounds. Truly blessed and Thankful. Revelation 22:21The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Posted by John Gilmore on 10/02/17
Dan, the connection is not fully clear, but the three principles for online training seem to me to have corollaries in God's work. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

I'm not surprised that you have made the choice to full-time ministry with FAST. The need is great and God is moving to spread His message in many ways. I pray that FAST may multiply in keeping with the seriousness of the times and the shortness of time.
Posted by Colette Guthrie on 10/02/17 - Coach
P.s. one thing I've done this year ...
Posted by Colette Guthrie on 10/02/17 - Coach
An awesome blog post Dan! I think it's a great giant step of faith. One thing that I've done is yet to maintain my daily memory review. I am over 150 days having missed a few but I credit my success to the Fast app! Thanks for all you and Val do.
Posted by Sarita Mayhawk on 10/02/17
Greetings Dan,
I think it wonderful that you and your family are listening and following GOD'S calling for your lives.

Praying for GOD'S blessings as you follow HIS lead.
Posted by S.O. on 10/02/17
Wow you are moving to a country home! It's just right time to do so as we hear all these troubles around the world.
And you can focus on important things what God has called you for.
I'm sure it has been a blessing so far to work with big churches to get it going in the real world, but God has time for everything. Now you can focus more on personal family life along with FAST missions, which will give broader and bigger effect to the world, though it may seems to others as being isolated. The grocery bills and petrol cost may be a bit bigger than the city life, but it'll be worth 10times more in nutrition wise to grow fruits & veggies at home, and maybe 100times more for spiritual nutrition. And you'll be the example of many, saving their lives from perishing. And we'll get to enjoy those spiritual feast coming out from it.
Praise God for Monday memos for the past one year, many times they gave me motivation for revival. You made it well in simplifying the website program and getting us involved in this way.
If I want one more thing, it'll be great to have access to old post(Monday memo), and the challenges we went through, so we can share with others whenever it's the right time for them. Or if it was just me who couldn't find it, you can make it easier for us to find things. :) I get lost in the website sometimes. Haha
Thanks always and all the best for your new country home ministry. God will bless richly.
Posted by Joy Hank on 10/02/17
Dan, this is indeed an exciting challenge for you and your family. I know from experience that we can trust God to supply our needs when we put His will and work first. Please know I join with the others in praying for you.
I have been truly exciting and motivated by the challenges this year at FAST. I am praying for the opportunity to use it in our new mission field of Madagascar.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/02/17 - Coach
Thank you so much Janice. We are going to miss everyone here so much. Especially those wonderful breakfasts!

Thanks Diane for the thrilling testimony. We will be offering the Breakout Challenge again starting Nov 1 and we are going to (hopefully) add something really big to it. Will be announcing more in a few days...

Congrats on the success God has blessed you with!
Posted by Diane Castanon on 10/02/17 - Coach
I wish you and your wife the best, Dan! This is an exciting time indeed! What I loved the most this past year, was the Memory Challenge. It was the 2nd time I had taken this, but it was the best! It truly challenged me and I have been continuing to memorize, as well as finally learning all the books of the bible (thanks to a little something I saw @CJ1412 using in the children's Sabbath School a week ago).

When I witness to individuals whom I see searching for truth, the needed scriptures roll off my tongue with ease, and our loving God is exalted! It was the FAST Memory Challenge that helped me to increase my Scripture base and knowledge by giving me the keys and tools to memorization.
Posted by Janice Hill on 10/02/17
God will continue to bless you and your family. We will miss you, but God will have us all be faithful to the gifts we have for others! It is an exciting time to be a part of FAST ministry.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/02/17 - Coach
Thank you so much Violeta and Aurora. It is indeed our reward to know lives are being changed. I couldn't think of a more rewarding way to spend my life! But it is definitely also a blessing to me--as I learn everyday from our community. That's what makes FAST so exciting. It's each of you...
Posted by Aurora on 10/02/17
Real glad to know that you are going fulltime at FAST. This has helped me a lot and I am also positive that it will also help others if they will just commit themselves to strictly follow the instructions. Thank you so much Pastor. Your blessings will be more people like me who was transformed by this online study and training.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 10/02/17
A message for you, Dan, from Violeta.

We are glad you found FAST, Violeta. :-) How wonderful that it is helping you grow spiritually. :-)
Posted by Violeta Buckley on 10/02/17
Fortunately, we heard FAST a few months ago and we did not know about the transition you've been into since you started. We are glad we have found this site which help us to grow spiritually day by day.

Thank you Dan
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/02/17 - Coach
Thanks Fiona and Leslie! We appreciate the affirmation, well wishes, and kind words. And also for sharing how these principles we've been building on have been helpful to both of you. It will be very hard to leave our current position, but we look forward to things getting even more exciting...
Posted by Leslie Caza on 10/02/17
Now that's exciting! Major life change in ministry: new vision, fresh motivation, total commitment to a work that you are gifted for!

I like the interaction during courses, so I think the new plan to run one class at a time is better. When I did some of the foundational courses I would have enjoyed more connection with other users. Great move.

Simplifying the site also has helped a lot.

May God bless your new mission that many of us will be better equipped, so that more souls will get to know, love, and obey Him.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 10/02/17
Wow! I am excited for you and your wife, Vi, Dan! What a big adventure! I did wonder how you managed to juggle both a pastoral role and FAST Missions.   

And as to the saying, "less is more", I agree. There is a delightful and thought-provoking advert here in NZ ads, which I sometimes hear when I have Youtube on for the Christian music, and it is the little voice of a small person, telling about how "little is huge". It is a very interesting concept. Similar to "less is huge". :-)

I will be praying that the transition for you as a family, will be smooth, and peaceful, and lovely. May God bless you both as you take up this challenge to serve the FAST community even more now than before. I know I for one, appreciate the website. :-)

FAST has grown in leaps and bounds, as you have listened to God leading you. May His blessings continue to multiply as you both take this big step. :-)

I know in my life, that sometimes God requires me to step out in faith, and the rest will follow. He goes before us.

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