As a former pastor, I appreciated Mark Batterson's upfront take on those who complain the loudest in his church ("Thou Shalt Offend Pharisees," July/August). After more than 30 years in the ministry, I still grow tired of the Pharisees within the church who bring their lists of exactly how things should be done—just because that's the way Brother Joe did it 20 years ago. I believe I speak for most pastors when I say I would rather deal with the issues that accompany 100 new believers than the gripes of even a few Pharisees in the church.
Thank you, Mark Batterson, for voicing one of the most forgotten nuggets of wisdom for pastors: Be yourself. It took me years of people-pleasing, role-playing and feeling like I couldn't be who God created me to be to finally learn this lesson. It's amazing how once I stopped trying to become a pastor and started just being myself, that's when I actually became a better and more effective leader.
I have traveled throughout the world and am blessed to see God moving in every region of the globe. Because of that, I always feel great joy when magazines and various publications take a step back from covering the events of their own country and get a worldwide view ("Listen to the Global Church," July/August). I believe that is much closer to what the Lord sees from His glorious throne. He is moving! Whether we see it or not, He is as active in the global church as He was when the body was first formed. Thank you for reminding your readers of this.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Call me old-fashioned, but I think we should spend our time sharing the gospel with living beings, not fictional characters that only exist in cyberspace ("Virtual Church," July/August). Doesn't anyone else see the irony of ministries and churches pouring countless hours and dollars into reaching "virtual" people rather than the real ones? Don't misunderstand me: I'm all about reaching people where they are, and people are certainly online in droves today. But why not put our efforts more into reaching those operating these Second Life avatars rather than their alter egos?