For years pastors have asked their congregants to make sure their faith is lived out everyday of the week, not just on Sundays. But one pastor is concerned Christians might be ditching their beliefs as soon as they exit the sanctuary. In particular, he's learned that some Christians are taking their impatience, anger and unholy behavior out on the waiters and waitresses whose restaurants they patronize following Sunday services.
Tennesse Pastor Chad Roberts, who serves at Preaching Christ Church, told Kingsport's Times News that he read a story last year about a Missouri pastor who disregarded an Applebee's notice that adds an automatic 18 percent gratuity on checks for groups of 10 or more, and instead left no tip at all and wrote on her receipt: "I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?"
Roberts was disappointed with the pastor's actions and also troubled about the type of message the community is receiving about Christ through the actions of his congregation.
Thus, he created the "Sundays Are the Worst" online campaign as a way for Christians to receive feedback about how their community is being received by waiters and waitresses, and for food servers to know that the church recognizes their frustrations.
"I think everyone knows there's a disconnect between the serving community and what's 'the Sunday church crowd.' When we saw the comments that people were making about [the Missouri pastor not leaving a tip] that's when we knew we needed to address this issue," Roberts told the Times News.
"What could we do for the serving community to show them that the church cares about them and that we're not judgmental? What if there was a website where servers could just sound off, they could just vent, and then the church says, it's OK, we get it, we understand?" Roberts explained about his vision.
The Sundays Are the Worst website does not allow servers to post stories that include the name of the restaurant, restuarant owner or patron, but will not censor cursing or negativity. The site also includes a video about Preaching Christ Church and an FAQ that answers questions about Christianity such as, "Does God Really Care about Me?" and "Why Should Church Matter to Me?"
The eight-week campaign launched on March 2 and already has eight web pages of stories, replete with individuals thanking Sundays Are the Worst for recognizing the frustration that church members have given them through the years and offering anecodotes.
One server wrote that throughout their years in the business, they had often been the recipient of a "Jesus pamphlet" and a discounted tip.
"On top of bad tips, church goers tend to…what we call 'camp.' It's one thing to leave a bad tip, but please get up and leave so someone else can sit down and possibly leave us a good one! We can't make any more money with you sitting there when your meal is done and we can't pay our bills with the extra pamphlet you left. This is a cool little site you have going, it's awesome you are acknowledging this and care," the server wrote.
Another server, who submitted his or her post under Raising My Children, recalled that on Sundays "the church group would come in and take up all your tables, pull tables together, run you ragged getting refills, their children ran wild and always sat at a different table than the parents."
"They treated you like you were there to serve all their wants. This also includes the pastors and pastors' wives. As your ad states, they are rude, lousy tippers, leave the area in a mess for you to clean up. They really need to get off their high horse because they stand the same chance of getting into heaven as I do. Funny, I remember the churches I had were the larger ones and the Holiness Church as well," the waiter or waitress vented.
From among the servers who share their stories on the website, Roberts said his church will choose a server at random and provide them with a Food City gift card that can be redeemed for groceries or gas. The church has also emailed an apology to every server who has posted on the site.
Roberts added that he believes three positive things can happen from the Sundays Are the Worst campaign.
"Number one, that Christians would begin to realize that their attitude really matters when they go to eat," he said. "The second goal is that particularly unchurched servers would understand that not all Christians are rude, impatient, lousy tippers. That's what we want to communicate. For us, another win is going to be families who are thinking about trying church, we hope they'll see this and go, 'Now that sounds like a church we'd love to check out.'"