by Edward L. Smither
Twenty-first-century Christian leaders ought to consider seriously Augustine’s thoughts on mentoring in a trinitarian community of Christian friends. The peoples of the Western world are largely in a hurry to accomplish and pack more into their schedules. This race, aided by the speed of increasing technology, tends to squelch human relationships. The church, particularly evangelical Protestants, seems to be in a similar hurry; and discipleship ministries, though well programmed and efficient, are often entirely lacking Augustine’s notion of community.
Though his monasticism should not necessarily be imposed on the modern church, the church would do well to slow down and place more emphasis on quality relationships in which there is spiritual depth. Would it be too radical for mentors and disciples to eat an unrushed meal together and talk about their spiritual lives? Could two peers shut off their cell phones and pursue theological dialogue over coffee? What about pausing at some point in the day and praying with a fellow disciple?