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Roadmap 2019
By Dan Vis
December 10, 2018
Comments: 40

I still remember my very first Monday Memo. I published it September 22, 2016, and it was entitled: "The Only Constant". It was about how things are in a constant state of change--and especially so at FAST. Basically, I was announcing another major site upgrade!

But in that article, I also shared something more important than a site redesign. I articulated a new guiding philosophy. Rather than trying to add as many new features as possible, my goal became trying to boil things down to a few core things, I wanted to do well. Instead of throwing everything in but the kitchen sink, I committed to cutting everything out, that wasn't absolutely essential. My motto became, less is more.

“Rather than trying to do as much as possible, boil things down to a few things you want to do well.”

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The change was a huge success, and led to dramatic growth...

But that was over two years ago. During that time I've tinkered and experimented with every aspect of our site--and in the process learned a lot.

Now, with a new year rolling around, I've been reflecting on my goals for 2019. And I think it's time to take things up another notch. So I'm excited to announce our roadmap for the coming year.

Roadmap 2019

Here are some of the changes we have planned for next year, in the rough order we anticipate you seeing them. As usual, these plans are not set in concrete and could change.

Website Upgrade
I've been working quietly on a new site layout that will make it easier to find what you are looking for. In line with our motto, I've removed a number of lower level options and zoomed in on just a handful of key features: our articles, classes, tools, and study guides. Not only does it make finding these dramatically simple, but it feels entirely familiar and intuitive. So essentially, no learning curve!

We'll also be doing a massive update to our code. Over the years this has gotten quite clunky and patchwork as we've worked and reworked section after section. To be honest, I'm amazed everything works as well as it does! But now that I have another 2 years clarity on the core functions of our site, I've decided to do a complete code audit and reassemble the entire framework from the ground up. This project is pretty much done. And while I suspect there will be a few glitches in the process, it should dramatically simplify things going forward.

I've also done a pretty nifty update to the mobile version of our site, you are going to like! Expect to see the new site rolled out sometime this week!

A Big Lab Experiment
Once the new site is up, you'll see something new: the Lab. I've wanted to have a better way to engage with our most active members--especially our support partners. So I'm opening an all new "Lab" area that's going to be loaded with interactive features, including action plans, a forum, monthly memory challenges, certificates, and lots of live training events. I'll even be introducing a new email blog, called the Daily Juice. For those who love FAST, the Lab will greatly enrich your experience. We hope to open this up January 1.

“For those who love FAST, the Lab will greatly enrich your experience. Opens January 1.”

Click to Tweet

Shining up the Toolbox
One of the most popular sections of our site, is our tools. In addition to the Engine, we have tools for Bible study, prayer, and time management. One of my first goals for 2019, will be a complete revamp of our entire toolbox. I've been accumulating ideas for improvements for quite awhile, and have a list as long as your arm. If all goes well, you are going to see some major new capabilities coming soon. And at the same time, a simpler interface making things easier to use. Expect to see these changes during the first couple months of 2019.

Training Center Expansion
Another popular section at FAST, is our training centers--which allows whole churches to access our entire library of training resources for a super low price. And it works fine right now. But some old timers may remember our ChurchZAP software--which featured a dizzying array of church management tools. Last year I discontinued that with the intentions of rebuilding a simplified version of it right inside our training centers. That didn't get done, but it's top of the stack for 2019. What this means for you, is that your training center is about to become a whole suite of dynamite powered church admin tools! I'll be rolling these out in the early spring, as soon as the toolbox is done.

Exciting New Classes
I've got our class calendar lined up for 2019, and it's loaded with some great new classes. I've scheduled a good half dozen new short classes on topics like evolution/creation, money management, apologetics and spiritual gifts. And I'll be bringing back the entire journey curriculum. Plus, I'll be adding a whole second track of live events with courses like Mighty in the Word, True Education (an old favorite), and a long awaited Moral Machinery Implementation Strategy. Revive is coming back. And Rocket is going to be expanded in some powerful new ways. Lots of opportunities to learn!

Study Guides
We've got a pretty good library of study guides already, but I'm planning some big changes here as well. One of our goals is to update the entire inventory in our Online Store to use the same format as our digital lessons. Once we make that transition, we'll be able to start introducing a number of new courses, and update some of our existing courses. We'll even be able to begin making print lessons available in other translations. I also have something super big planned for the summer of 2019 involving our evangelism resources--but will wait till that date gets closer to announce it. Think: Bible worker training...

Looking Forward

If you've been a part of FAST for awhile, you know we've been on a journey. In 2016 we changed our philosophy to become more focused and streamlined. And it led to some tremendous growth.

At the end of 2017, we transitioned into doing FAST full time, and have spent this past year remodeling our small home and getting settled in. And we're ending this year streamlining things even more, with another big site upgrade. Core essentials will get easier to use, and everything else gets stripped out.

All this puts us in a really exciting position here at FAST. We'll be freer than ever to give our undivided attention to serving our community. Our vision is becoming more and more laser-focused. And we have every reason to believe 2019 will be our best year yet! Join us as we seek to climb higher together...


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Comments

So what do you think of our plans? Anything special appeal to you? Anything specific you wish we had included? Share a comment or two below. Your feedback is always welcome.

Posted by Barbara E. LaRose on 01/06/19
Hi Dan! I love all the new ideas coming up this year of 2019. But I had an idea!! Is there any way that you can make an icon that comes up on our phone that we can click on and go straight to your ministry? Like Walmart, JoAnns, Pinterest, etc. I would so love that and it would make it easier to get to and to show my friends. Just a thought but I’d love it!!   
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/24/18
So glad we could be a help and encouragement to you Linda! I don't know if you noticed ROCKET is coming up, but that's the perfect way to kick off a new year. We'll be adding more information that last year so should be better than ever!!! Hope you can join us. :)
Posted by Linda Gerace on 12/24/18

This is exciting! As you know, I've been so inconsistent as a FAST community member. In the last week or two I have finally been able to resume waking up early, on a regular basis, to begin my day in devotions and Bible study, and am now adding back in Scripture memorization via FAST.

Please pray for me to be able to continue putting this time with God first in all I do, but especially to do it with a heart of love for who He is and all He has done for me and for the world.

Thank you for your ministry. I have always appreciated what FAST does.

Posted by Dan Vis on 12/24/18
So glad to have you a part of our community Barbara. Be sure to sign up for Rocket Goals. It's going to be our big kickoff program for the year. You are going to love it! Sign up early if you can. These classes are best when we all go through them together... And this one opens up January 1!
Posted by Barbara E. LaRose on 12/24/18
Just joined in December as a member and I look forward to an exciting year walking more closely with the Lord through your program. Merry Christmas and look forward to all the new changes.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/23/18
:-)
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/17/18
Thank you Fiona! Appreciate the enthusiasm, and the prayer support. :)
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/17/18
All this news sounds very exciting, Dan! I look forward to all the new happenings! Thank you for all the work, and God bless as He continues to guide you even more with your work here on FAST.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/15/18
Well Qing, we're super glad to have you as part of our community also! I'm all wound up and eager to get to 2019. Definitely expecting it to be our best year yet!!! Thank you for your kind wishes.
Posted by Qing Ling on 12/15/18
Watching FAST over the past 2 years has just been a great learning exercise. And inspiring too. Dan You are applying the very things you teach us, showing us how, and giving us tools to do the same. My goal this year was to drill down to focus on what's most important and drop what's not. I haven't been super successful, but I love that I have a FAST community that mentors me and to journey with as I keep plugging along anyway :)
May God multiply the fruits of your labor!
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/14/18
Actually Diane I may have an even better place for those links. Something special I'm cooking up for the Lab. Will make the perfect addition to what I have in mind. I'll try to remember to announce these when I have them all in place...
Posted by Diane Castanon on 12/14/18
Thanks a bunch, Dan!
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/14/18

What a nice way to describe it Diane! Thank you. :)

As for your question, not at the moment, but I could probably add that easy enough... Good suggestion! Give me a little time to work on that.

You can do book reviews right now: Tools > Memorize > Advanced Drills > Books. I'll add options to print out verses and/or refs, and perhaps first letters/cards also right there on the review drill page. Check there in the next day or two and see if it doesn't pop up! :)

Thanks Denice for the encouragement. It would be great to have you join our team. I have a big announcement about our Training Centers coming out today. Be sure to look for the email. And glad you like the new navigation. I do think it makes it a slight bit easier to find things! :)

Posted by Denice on 12/14/18
Such fantastic plans Dan. Looking forward to having my church become a training school in 2019.
Thank you for all the hard work in organising this new and easier way of using your site, and accessing the study guides.
Posted by Diane Castanon on 12/13/18
Dan, is there a way to print our personal “Review List” by books of the Bible, so we can work on reclaiming lost verses book by book?
Posted by Diane Castanon on 12/13/18
As usual, I love the new plans. It’s like opening a gift 💝.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/13/18
Thanks Denice, happy to have the privilege of serving in this way. God has truly been good to us, to give us such a great community!
Posted by Denice on 12/12/18
Dan, Thank you for continuing to make Fast easier for the older users. I’m so thankful for all you provide on your site,with so many wonderful classes to help us grow closer to Jesus.
I know God will guide you as you work on the special programs for 2019.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/12/18
Glad those caught your attention Brian! I have most of the content for each of those classes. I'm pretty sure we'll be able to pull those together. Should help make this a great year!
Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 12/12/18
yes, Dan, the delay is what I am talking about. Blessings as you work on the database.
Posted by Brian on 12/11/18
Wow...excited about the new short classes.... evolution/creation, money management, apologetics and spiritual gifts...will be something.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/11/18
On our end, we send out the password reminders immediately. But it's possible some servers are slow in forwarding them on. Is that what you are talking about Ann? Unfortunately I don't have a lot of options for that. For security it has to go through an email linked to the account. At some point I might add text notifications...
Posted by Zewdi Isaac Enbom on 12/11/18
Thank you Pr. Dan. I will definitely visit the Church and let you know how they are doing.
Posted by Anita Huffman on 12/11/18
I will.
Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 12/11/18
I know it seems obvious to regular users of computer programs but passwords continue to be an issue with even seasoned technology users. One issue I have run into is timed password change opportunities. My provider is not timely and the window expires before I get the email I need to change things. If someone has that problem, they give up and go away and when they return to the computer they either can't do it or have forgotten about it. Two of my friends might use FAST if it was easier. So simple is better. Best wishes as you program things and for a holiday season.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/11/18

Ok, let me know if something turns up Anita.

Ann, if they try to recreate an account, they are told they have an account and there is a link right on that page that offers to send them their password. Or actually I think they are sent an email reminder automatically with their password. Not sure what more we can do to improve that...

Will do a bit more testing once the new site it up to verify things. I do have a lot of big plans for the Training Centers to make it easier to actually create accounts for people so you can send them invites with a password and everything already in it. :)

Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 12/11/18
It seems like they have been 'accepted' but they don't know it. They try to register again and it says they already have an account but they don't know the password. May be an email detailing their acceptance and a temporary password would be a way to go?
Posted by Anita Huffman on 12/11/18
Dan, I've tried to ascertain what they have trouble with but no one seems to be able to tell me! When I do the "commercial", maybe they will ask specific questions that I can share with you.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/11/18
Anita, Ann, if you can share with me any problems people have so I have an idea where the issues are I may be able to fix them. Without knowing where they are stumbling, it's hard to know how to smooth the path. :)
Posted by Kjersti on 12/11/18
Good,lettthe. good grow, and be blessedb by our prayers.
Posted by Anita Huffman on 12/11/18

Dan, I am looking forward to the Lab, the expanded Rocket class, the Journey curriculum and other new classes.

Ann, I've had the same experience at my church. It seems like nearly every one has a difficult time figuring out the FAST site. I'm thinking of doing a brief "tutorial" of the site at announcement time just to show folks how to use the Memory Engine and the classes that are available to get them started. My son can run the computer part from the back to show everything and project it on the screen on the platform while I talk about it.

Posted by Dan Vis on 12/10/18

Why don't you message me David and let me know what you are thinking about... Are you looking for contact information for each of these centers?

Paul, it helps a lot now that I can devote my undivided attention to this. :) The MMIS program will be all new--and in fact right now it's only in the preliminary planning stages. I'm still not 100% sure how it will turn out. So, no I don't have any prior resources to share for that class...

Have a nice time back in Illinois Zewdi. Hope you get a chance to visit the church and let me know how they are doing! :)

Posted by Zewdi Isaac Enbom on 12/10/18

Sounds great. Looking forward to 2019. I will be in Aurora on the 15th of this month. I will give you a call once I settle down.

May God bless you abundently in your endeavour.

Posted by Paul Carson on 12/10/18
I am amazed at how you cover so much ground, glory to God!
The Moral Machinery Implementation Strategy stood out for me as synergistic with the Ministry Plan that I put together under worker tools. Is there any of that resource from an earlier course that I could access before MMIS is rolled out?
Posted by David Edmunds on 12/10/18
Hi Dan Great to be apart. For the centres you can find but how to contact them to be unify. At least in your own country.    
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/10/18

Thank you Michelle! Appreciate the feedback. And definitely looking forward to meeting your husband in our next class! :)

Thanks for the feedback Ann. When we do our big training center update (coming early 2019) we'll have a number of new tools to help with this. I'll also make a note we need to put more printable instruction you can share with people. That might also help!

Hi Wayne, someone else recently reported the same problem so I'm not sure what's going on. Basically, as long as your browser accepts cookies (which basically store your login credentials), it should work. There must be some setting that's blocking that from happening. Two other possibilities: you have your icon set to go to a logged out page, or you are in the habit of logging out before you leave. My guess is, it has something to do with your cookies. If you can figure it out let me know. I don't have an iphone so it's hard to debug...

Posted by Carole Bliss on 12/10/18

I think all the work you are doing is Spirit led. With the experience from the previous years, you can adjust things to meet the needs of people, and do the work God has planned for you to do, and have many be on board with you.
God bless you and your mission

Carole

Posted by Wayne E Smith on 12/10/18
Good Morning Pastor Dan,
Is there a way to automatically sign in with my iphone when I click on the Fast icon?
Blessings as you work to reach more people with the Gospel,
Wayne
Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 12/10/18
They sound good. In eastern PA we are busily working towards an evangelism series in March of 2019. We worked at getting interests and now have a Bible worker facilitating our training and followup. One issue has been the difficulty in having people with few computer skills actually able to understand how to use FAST. A few have tried to sign up and were never actually able to use it. They were confused. Simple is better.
Posted by Michelle on 12/10/18
Wow!! This is fantastic news. I am new to FAST and know there is more to discover and so I like all the ideas metioned.I sm in the mobile site daily. I can’t wait... exciting. My husband is going to take the Breakout memory class in April. Glad you are devoting to this project fulltime.
I am definetly prospered from your class and it has helped me better prepare to labor in the highways and byways.

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