At a leadership conference several years ago I heard Pastor Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii tell the story about walking into a restaurant over the lunch hour and seeing one of his church members sitting at a table and talking quite excitedly with a man he didn’t recognize. Wayne walked by the table on his way to his table, and as he passed he spoke to the church member, and she immediately got all excited and said, “Mr. Jones. This is pastor Wayne that I’ve been telling you about!” So she introduced Wayne to Mr. Jones, her boss. And she said, “I’ve been telling Mr. Jones that he has to come to our church this Sunday.”
Well, Mr. Jones looked up at Wayne and sheepishly said, “I told her that I’m not sure I should come. I’m not sure I’d fit in.”
Before Wayne could say anything, the lady said, “That’s okay! You just need try it! You’d fit in fine! You just need to come to our church."
The boss said, “Well, I don’t know. I like to golf on Sundays . . .”
The lady said, “That’s okay. Just try it one time! You just need to come to our church.”
The man was getting more agitated and he said, “Look Cindy, I don’t think I want to!”
And the lady said, “That’s okay! It’s okay if you don’t want to! You’ll be amazed at how good going to church is though and you’ll want to next week after you come this week!”
Now, really mad, the man said, “Look! I don’t want to come to your church! I’m an atheist!”
And the lady, without missing a beat, said, “That’s okay! Even atheists need Jesus! You just need to come to our church so you can find out that Jesus is real and that He loves you!”
Wayne Cordeiro insisted that was a true story, and I think it illustrates for us the type of excitement that some people have for sharing the gospel and inviting people to church.