Vista Community Church does not see its new “Rule of Life” initiative as a list of stringent, well, rules.
“But rather a set of habits and rhythms that will give you just enough structure and direction to grow with purpose toward Christlikeness,” lead pastor Austin Fischer said in a video introducing the initiative.
Rule of Life is a set of eight habits — four that parishioners should practice every day and four they should do every week. The list — which is available with resources on the church’s app — is meant to be about people doing simple tasks to reinforce Jesus Christ in their lives, according to Vista Community Church.
“We think it’s going to be a really helpful tool for our Vista family,” Fischer said.
Visit www.thevista.tv/ruleoflife to download the church’s app.
The four daily habits are prayer, scripture, meals and technology.
Fischer said people should have three set times of prayer each day — morning, midday and evening.
“Our second habit is scripture. What we mean by that is reading a chapter or just a passage a day. I know that can be really intimidating starting out because the Bible can be a complicated book,” the pastor said, adding Vista’s app includes reading plans and context for the Bible.
The third daily habit is to spend one meal with another person — a habit that Fischer said many have not practiced in recent years..
“Throughout scripture, meals are seen as very sacred moments of community and connection,” the pastor said. “In a world that is increasingly isolated and lonely, it is important to recover that habit of sharing meals with people.”
The fourth daily habit is a twofer about technology, Fischer said.
“The first one is prayer and scripture before phone,” he said. “When you wake up, you just blindly grab for your phone and check your email, your social media or whatever. No, when you wake up give God the first word on your day through prayer and scripture.”
The second part of that habit relates to spending meals with another person.
“The second technology habit is to be sure to put your phone away during meals because, again, meals are for connection and community, not distraction,” Fischer said.
The weekly habits are taking a Sabbath; having a kind intersection with a stranger; spending time with the vulnerable or underprivileged; and inviting someone to church.
The Sabbath — one of the Ten Commandments — is self explanatory: It’s meant to be a 24-hour period of rest, Fischer said.
“The second weekly habit is a kind interaction with a stranger,” the pastor said. “This is a habit that’s just meant to kind of get you outside of yourself and out of your own head and agendas and be reminded that there’s a big world filled with people who need to know the love of God and the kindness of Jesus Christ. So put it on your calendar to be kind to someone each week.”
Along with that, Fischer said people should carve out time in their calendar to spend time with those who are underprivileged.
“A lot of us are very privileged people — more privileged than most of us probably know — and so we want to make sure we have regular habits of being around people who are not as privileged, people who need help,” the pastor said. “Make it a part of your week to make sure you get time in some of those spaces and places.”
The final weekly habit Vista wants its members to form is to invite people to church.
“Fifty percent of us will not invite a single person to church all year long — which is astonishing,” Fischer said. “This is kind of a scheduling of a reminder and that there’s a big broken world out there that needs to know the love of God, and the best way to do that is to invite them to church.”
“That’s it,” the pastor said. “It’s that simple.”