The Hidden MeaningBy Dan Vis
September 30, 2019
One of the questions I'm often asked has to do with the name of our ministry. What does FAST stand for? Is it an acronym? Is there some meaning behind it?
The answer is actually a surprisingly long story.
To save time, I usually go with the short version: we're simply helping people "hold FAST" to the Bible (I Thessalonians 5:21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.). If they seem especially interested, I might add we also want to help believers "stand FAST" in the faith (I Corinthians 16:13Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.), and then "work FAST" in ministering to others (Ezra 5:8Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.). These three things lay at the core of our ministry. They are foundational. We're unswervingly committed to helping believers take in, live out, and pass on the Word of God.
“FAST is committed to helping believers hold fast, stand fast, and work fast, in earth's final days!”
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But there's more to the story. There actually is an acronym...
The Hidden MeaningInitially, when we launched our ministry, we developed an acronym to describe the character qualities a disciple would need to grow FAST and baked it right into our first training program: Basic Training. Later, we developed a list of attributes to describe what would SLOW a person's spiritual growth.
But rather than simply telling people what the FAST acronym stood for, I'd tell them, with a bit of a smile, that they would have to go through Basic Training to find out! My motivation, of course, was not to be cryptic--but to use their curiosity to motivate them to seek out FAST training.
But the mystery around our ministry name created an unintended side-effect. People started trying to guess what FAST stood for and came up with acronyms of their own!
One couple wrote to tell me that so many people were enjoying a closer walk with Christ, they had come up with their own acronym: Finding A Savior Today. I loved it.
Another time, a student came up to me and said: "I figured out what FAST stands for!" So I invited him to tell me: "You guys are always talking about personal application, it must mean Faithfully Applying Spiritual Truth". It wasn't right, but it was another good one.
Once at a pastor's retreat, a pastor came up and told me how he used to run week long "FAST's" in his church. But it wasn't from food, it was a challenge to "Forsake All Secular Thoughts". He would urge the entire congregation to give up one week of media to focus their thoughts on God. That seemed to fit too!
And the suggestions continued to come in over the years:
Fervently Asking for Spiritual Treasures
Focused on Accomplishing Specific Tasks
Forward Advancing Support Teams
Freely Announcing Salvation Together
One of our early leaders latched on to our vision to equip an army of workers through the power of the Bible, and came up with one of my all-time favorites: The Final Army's Scripture Training. It described our mission as perfectly as anything I could come up with!
And then I remember praying myself one time about our mission, and another acronym flashed into my mind completely unbidden: Finishing A Sacred Task. That was our goal, after all, wasn't it? To see the work of God finished on planet earth, so we could go home at last?
The Problem CompoundsThe more we told people they would have to go through our training to find out what FAST stood for, the more acronyms people seemed to come up with. And they were all pretty amazing. Any one of them could have worked! The problem was, it became impossible to pick just one!
So we decided to adopt them all...
Now when people ask what FAST stands for, I have to give them a different answer. Yes, the short answer is still the same: we're all about helping people hold FAST to the Bible. And to stand FAST. And work FAST. Nothing has changed about our commitment to helping believers take in, live out, and pass on the Word of God.
But for the long answer, rather than saying they have to go through Basic Training to discover the meaning of our name, I now have to explain there's quite a story behind it. The story I've briefly recounted here in this memo! That there's not just one acronym behind FAST any more, but lots of them.
Oh, and that original acronym? Back when we first launched our ministry, all those years ago? It's still there in Basic Training. And yes, if you want to know what that is, you still have to go through the class! :)
CommentsQuite a story isn't it? What does FAST mean to you? Which acronym do you think best describes what our ministry means to you? And why did you pick that one? Share a thought in the comments below.
|Posted by Joan Ziegler on 03/12/22|
|Dan, I have to say that Final Army's Scripture Training is my favorite one! But, they are ALL really great! Very interesting!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 06/12/20|
|You'll stumble on to it near the end of the course. :) Enjoy the rest of Basic Training Debbie!|
|Posted by Debbie Jones on 06/12/20|
|Thanks for sharing this article Dan. I'm doing Basic Training now and will have to stay on the lookout for the original acronym. Of the ones you've listed here, Finishing A Sacred Task is my favorite.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/05/19|
|For some reason I'm partial to the KJV in that verse Diane, maybe because it uses the words "hold FAST". :)|
|Posted by Diane Castanon on 12/05/19|
|Dan I really like Proverbs 4:13Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. in the NKJV, "Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life."|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 10/09/19|
|We usually use that verse on our stationery and things Carla. Or more often Proverbs 4:13Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.. Both great verses about holding fast!|
|Posted by Carla Phillips on 10/08/19|
|Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 10/03/19|
|Qing, they did just seem to fit with the lessons, didn't they? The only problem is they will just make future students even more confused about what FAST really stands for! :)|
|Posted by Qing Ling on 10/02/19|
|My favourite is Final Army’s Scripture Training. I wish we could just go home now!
I almost forgot about the 3 FASTs - hold, stand, work. I need to write that down. When people ask, I just refer to Revelation 3:11
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/30/19|
|Oh, no problem Emmanuel. I'm just glad you remembered it so well! :)
Yeah, it's kind of fun, huh? Two new ones in the comments down below Patricia!
|Posted by Patricia Jones on 09/30/19|
|I remember it from Basic Training, but have seen so many variations I have to think of it in contrast to slow to remember which it is.|
|Posted by Carole Bliss on 09/30/19|
|Finding Answers Staying True
As we learn more, we need to stay on the course God has given us
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