KINGSPORT, Tenn. — An East Tennessee pastor has created a website where restaurant servers are encouraged to sound off about waiting on church crowds.
Preaching Christ Church in Kingsport kicked off its "Sundays are the Worst" campaign March 3, and it runs through Easter Sunday.
Lead Pastor Chad Roberts told the Kingsport Times-News that he and a couple of staff members got the idea after hearing complaints about rude church crowds that didn't tip well.
"We were sitting in a Buffalo Wild Wings saying, 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 say, it's OK, we get it, we understand?" he said. "I think everyone knows there's a disconnect between the serving community and what's quote unquote the Sunday church crowd."
He said identifying information, including names of servers, customers or restaurants will be removed from any posts.
He said servers who contribute their stories at www.sundaysaretheworst.com will get written apologies emailed to them.
One server posted that she was thinking about visiting a church, but decided not to after waiting on some parishioners who were mean and didn't leave a tip.
"Now on Sunday mornings, I sleep in, and that works nicely for me," the post says.
Roberts said some churchgoers don't realize how condescending they can come across.
"That's the purpose of this campaign, to cause them to realize that their attitude matters and it affects those around them," he said.
Roberts said he hopes the efforts will help churchgoers consider their attitudes while they are out to eat. He said he hopes the effort also shows servers that not all church crowds are "the worst."
"It's a way for our church to tell the serving community that we're sorry for what you have to go through on Sundays and that we really do appreciate you and what you do for our community," he said.
"The two goals we have with this are No. 1, that Christians would begin to realize that their attitude really matters when they go to eat," Roberts 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."
Depending on how it goes, Roberts said the church may do it again and even expand it to include workers at other retail establishments that are open on Sundays.
"The church does so many things that are counterproductive to our message," he said. "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? We want it to be practical."