A pastor has opened up an online forum for waiters and waitresses in Tennessee to anonymously vent about the low tips and poor treatment they received from Christian customers.
“Sundays Are the Worst,” a website created by Chad Roberts, lead pastor at Preaching Christ Church in Kingsport, Tenn., offers “a place of pure honesty and testimony” for restaurant staff to share the frustration they’ve experienced as a result of interacting with people after church.
The idea for the site came last year after Roberts heard about the St. Louis pastor who famously wrote, “I give God 10 percent — why do you get 18?” on an Applebee’s receipt. After that incident went viral, Roberts and his staff members decided to take action.
“I think everyone knows there’s a disconnect between the serving community and what’s quote-unquote the ‘Sunday church crowd,’” Roberts told Tennessee’s Kingsport Times-News this month. “Mainly when we saw the comments that people were making about [the situation in St. Louis], that’s when we knew we needed to address this issue.”
Image source: SundaysAretheWorst.com
Roberts first tried to launch a Facebook page, but that effort wasn’t successful due to the need to protect servers’ identities. That’s when he decided to launch a website where local restaurant workers in Tennessee could share their experiences completely anonymously.
“We have the ability to edit, but the way we feel, the story is going to be what it is. If they drop the F-bomb, curse, it is what it is, but if a server puts their name or a restaurant name or a customer name, we will take that out,” Robertstold the Times-News. “We want to protect the servers and we want to protect the restaurant owners. We’re not going to allow restaurants to be bashed on there.”
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Dozens of stories of servers’ experiences have already been posted since the site launched March 1. Roberts wrote that his goal is to “create conversation.”
“Our hope is that the church crowd will read the thoughts and experiences from the serving community and that it would cause them to re-think their actions and attitudes on Sundays,” he wrote. “We also hope that server who have been legitimately hurt by Christians would realize that there is a church that really cares about how they are treated. It bothers us, angers us and saddens us when we read these stories of how some Christians have judged, belittled and mistreated the serving community.”
One former server wrote that they “teared up” after hearing about Roberts’ effort.
“When I was put into a position that I had to wait tables in TN, I always dreaded the inevitable Sunday morning,” theserver wrote. “Being single and not particularly religious, I was always scheduled to work. As the title of your site says, Sundays were the worst. Tips were lousy.”
The server wrote that they had seen religious literature left instead of tips, including the “fake $20″ — a Christian tract that resembles a $20 bill, but isn’t.
Image source: SundaysAreTheWorst.com
Another individual who worked at a local grocery store shared more hard-hitting views on what it was like to deal with Christian customers on Sundays.
“The arrogant churchgoing customers I helped looked down their noses at me, snapped their fingers like I was a dog, refused to answer my questions and huffed if they thought I was working too slowly,” the person wrote. “Cool, I’ll just trim your flowers so that they wilt in a day, not in a week or I’ll pick out the nastiest, most blown-open flowers I have because you refuse to sully your graced-by-God fingers picking them out yourself and you won’t notice because you’re feeling too high and mighty to actually inspect your purchase.”
Each of these stories receives an apology response from Preaching Christ Church. And every week during the eight-week campaign, one server who contributed is chosen to receive a supermarket gift card. In the end, Roberts said, he’s trying to change the narrative and confront both those responsible for the negative behavior and those impacted by it.
“The church does so many things that are counterproductive to our message, so we try to be intentional, we try to be strategic, we try to think through everything we do: Does this advance the cause of Christ? Does it advance the Gospel, and does it help people?” he said. “We want it to be practical.”