By Dan Vis
December 10, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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...
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...
Take the Next Step
Want to take full advantage of all our community classes, tools, and study guides? Want to be part of our all new lab? Click below to become a partner. Want to share our resources with your entire church? Consider sponsoring your church.
Check out the free gifts we've got planned for those who sign up during this year's support campaign:
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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|
|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 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 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 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,
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