Home > Theology > Pastor Alois Bell, Applebee’s and Tipping Waitresses

Pastor Alois Bell, Applebee’s and Tipping Waitresses

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

This week Alois Bell, a pastor in St. Louis, wrote on her Applebees receipt how she felt that giving 18% to a waitress was unjustified when she gives 10% to God. After finding that the receipt had found its way onto the internet, Pastor Bell demanded that the waitress and all the Applebees management be terminated. The story and it’s sordid details can be found here:

http://consumerist.com/2013/01/31/waitress-who-posted-no-tip-receipt-from-pastor-customer-fired-from-job/

In regards to this, I have some thoughts on money and tithing…

What would happen if families that lost their source of income could count on the church to keep a roof over their head and keep their children fed? (What if the church at the same time wouldn’t pay for their cable bill, cell phones and internet?)

What would happen if nearly 100% of the offerings given to God on Sunday’s were in the form of food and clothing? How long would it take for a few churches to provide every child in their community with a coat and mittens? How long would it take for every family to have a healthy dinner every night?

What would happen to a community that had a few of these churches? Would people in the community drive by the church and wonder what it was there for, would they have to throw away those lame evangelism mailings or would they actually be thankful for the presence of Christians?

Some statistics that may shock you… in the United States churches own 430 billion dollars of real estate.

The cost to feed all of the impoverished people in the world for one year? It’s been estimated at about 30 billion.

Rather than looking through this perspective, our churches work in an entirely different manner. To be a leader you pay tuition and go to college; then you are interviewed, then offered a job. You are hired, paid a full time wage, and you can be fired.

Then there’s the ministry; people won’t want to be Christians unless they are entertained by good music and a great stage show. People also need to buy lots of Christian things (we are a consumerist culture after all) so we need a book store in the church and have alot of church Bible studies that require everyone to buy things for.

Churches also have tax statuses, and have to obey city laws concerning their property; and with so much funding going here and there, there has got to be an official budget and a church accountant.

Churches have to provide services to their congregants and to their community, and a church is defined as being successful based off of how many people attend and how much revenue they have. Some pastors are even profit sharers, like Joel Olsteen, and can become millionaires.

Because of all of this, churches need to have big buildings for all the people to fit into; these buildings should be comfortable and welcoming with high tech sound equipment and theatrical lighting and TV monitors.

See, churches in America are based off of a business model. Don’t believe me? Go through what I’ve written thus far and count how many times I used a business term. We don’t even blink an eye when talking about “interviewing” and “hiring” a pastor. Really, I’d say that churches are actually closer to business entities than they are charitable organizations.

Here’s a few crazy thoughts…
I propose that rather than giving money to a church that congregants give food and clothing. After all, this matches all of the Biblical precedents. Tithes were givin from crops and livestock; and when money was given it was always used to care for the poor.

I propose that every church leader also has a job in the community; and that they receive no income from the church. How is this possible you say??? Well, the New Testament model for church has nothing that resembles a “senior pastor,” rather the church was lead by a group of overseers, say 6 to 12 people. When you have 6 leaders, you don’t have a single man who’s got to figure out a sermon each week; the workload and the responsibilities are shared.

Rather than being a part of the “Spiritual Elite,” what if pastors were normal people just like everyone else? What if being “missional” to them meant handing out that Happy Meal with a smile and buying extra food for customers that could only afford the dollar menu?

What if not every pastor needed to go to seminary? What if we all admit that knowing the lexical and etymological significance of a few Hebrew and Greek words rarely increases our spiritual maturity?

What if church money wasn’t for sound equipment, lighting and salaries? What if Christians no longer tried to evangelize with glossy fliers and slick marketing but simply gave to their community and sought to meet the basic needs of every member?

If change was really happening in your community because of the actions of a local church, don’t you think you’d hear about it? Or do you really need a flyer to know that such and such church exists???

What if we really lived as a church community, rather than met at a “church building” once a week?

What if each one of us was given a check by the church… “here’s the tithe we received last week, split out evenly among you, go and bless others with it, feed the poor, care for the widows.”

What if we were all priests together?

What if being a Christian is more about giving a good tip to a waitress than about giving 10% to God?

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  1. Dan
    January 31, 2013 at 11:26 pm | #1

    Not a bad article. Remember, the early Church was NOT in a structure… it was usually in someone’s home or even outside by a landmark (in the Days of the Apostle’s)

  2. February 1, 2013 at 1:26 am | #3

    This pastor is a cheapskate.

  3. james
    February 1, 2013 at 1:39 am | #4

    the pastor should lose its job!

  4. Michelle
    February 1, 2013 at 1:55 am | #5

    To the pastor… Do the RIGHT thing and BE ACCOUNTABLE for your actions and apologize to the waitress. You were WRONG. Flat out wrong. Now make your WRONG ACTION a RIGHT – as Jesus would or any person with true character. You can not grow as a person, if you can not see the error in what you did.

  5. Debi Johnson
    February 1, 2013 at 2:16 am | #6

    This pastor is a horrible person, Lady if you don’t want to tip, go through a drive through! And you act that way in Gods name. It’s a pleasure to serve God, and that is your choice. Lady, I bet you do give 10% to God, and you expect the people of your church to support you. However, being a waitress is very hard work, if someone is just sitting taking up table space, 6 people with a $35.00 bill, the waitress would starve in no time. The waitress had every right to post how cheap you are to the world. YOU CALL YOUR SELF A PASTOR, SHAME ON YOU, GOD SUPPLIES YOUR NEEDS. SERVING GOD IS A PLEASURE. I BET SERVING YOU WASN’T A PLEASURE.

  6. Thom Stewart
    February 1, 2013 at 2:31 am | #7

    I was going to go to Apple Bee’s this coming Monday, well you can forget that. I screw that pastor, what an arrogant bitch! And YES, I am an ordained minister…

    • A R
      February 1, 2013 at 7:28 am | #8

      Yeah I bet you’re a “man” of the cloth,, calling your fellow pastor a “bitch”, you gender-biased, bigoted asshat. She is not a “bitch”; she IS a “jerk”, a “cheapskate”, oh, and an “asshat” …. JUST LIKE YOU!

  7. February 1, 2013 at 3:02 am | #9

    Yep God says 10%, more specific the first 10% out of gross pay and out of obedience not as a requirement, The Bible also says women shouldn’t be leaders over men like Pastors. Its amazing how religious people get over money.Another example of using part of Gods work to satisfy our human selfishness! If she was really concerned about money she would have eaten at home and saved a few bucks and not have to worry about leaving any tip.

    • janice
      February 1, 2013 at 5:44 am | #10

      Money, it’s about money, many of pastor’s wear expensive suites, lots of bling, and drive expensive cars. The announcer has the music going and the drum roll, and it’s like I can hear them say,,, Heeeeers, Jesus. and the pastor takes the stage. People are not humble anymore, and even the church produces the greedy, money hungry, yet greedy.

  8. Wendy
    February 1, 2013 at 3:56 am | #11

    I hope Pastor Bell is happy to get a hard working young girl fired. Way to bring more people to Christianity. The pastor’s actions were not the Christian thing to do. She needs to take a long hard look at herself and also start eating at home. How is she supposed to teach people how to act in a christian way if she can’t act right herself. I would definitely be looking for a new preacher,. Maybe Pastor Bell should be fired too!

    • janice
      February 1, 2013 at 5:40 am | #12

      Agreed Wendy, pastor Bell was and is a poor example of how a Christian should conduct themselves. God would fire her as pastor, her duty to teach and watch the flock, what did she teach? a candle is only good if you light it,

  9. Brandy
    February 1, 2013 at 4:40 am | #13

    This “pastor”should be ashamed! Unbelievable.

  10. janice
    February 1, 2013 at 5:34 am | #14

    Im appalled, This pastor obviously does not read her bible, believe it, or understand it. Yet she calls herself a pastor, responsible for leadership, and the souls of other, while showing love. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Her shame, and concerns about her reputation being ruined, is self inflicted. I hope many people respond and turn up the heat to both the church and herself. It is unacceptable. Mrs. Bell, you really ought to be ashamed of yourself, now give the waitress your 10% until she finds another job, the same God who heals, delivers and saves, also can curb your appetite and fix your attitude, and tell you to do the right thing. Your not that cute, your not that special, your not that smart, that you are the exception, your title does not exclude you from paying your bill.

  11. mark
    February 1, 2013 at 6:36 am | #15

    What a slimeball Pastor, you don’t want to pay a decent tiop (15% – 20%), stay home and don’t go out you cheap skate. Now, your selfish actions had the waitress fired and you called yourself a Christian? What you are is a hypocrite in the eyes of the lord. Next time go to Church’s chicken, there you won’t have to leave a tip!

    • cnote
      February 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm | #16

      lmao nice way to slip a steriotype in with a pun!

  12. Greg
    February 1, 2013 at 7:40 am | #17

    In general most church member are cheap after hearing the word of God. They run servers like Olympiads from the time they sit down and leave $2 on a $30 after telling them job well done. Pastor are use to people feeding them on Sunday, so I guess they feel everyone should. I’m Black and I’m embarrassed myself because it makes all servers of all races not really want to give of great service because they think we won’t tip properly. So I’m gonna help my people out…When you get your bill multiply the first number of the amount by 2 and add two 00′s behind it..(i.e if the bill is $30 then 2×3=6 then add the two 00′s and the tip is $6.00). Follow that simple rule then we all might get respect.

  13. E.K.B.H
    February 1, 2013 at 7:41 am | #18

    Are you happy “pastor”…….think God is happy regarding your actions? The church needs a new pastor and..an audit. You get your feathers riled over a $35.00 ticket which at even 20% would ONLY have cost you a whopping $7.00 I would question why it is you are pinching that penny so hard………. and perhaps next time you feel the need to eat out, perhaps a swanson chicken pot pie cooked by you, in your oven would be better..Oh by the way….just curious…was it a ‘business’ meal paid for by the church????

  14. Lee Morgan
    February 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm | #19

    My children wore WWJD bracelets when they were younger, would he have really called the restaurant and demanded that people be fired? The pastor doesn’t walk the talk.

  15. February 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm | #20

    Incredible display of loving and generous Christianity Alois!!!Oh and by [buy]the way.since God pays YOUR salary,why not be a bit more generous…after all the ancient 10% is a SUGGESTED charity guidline. Also Christ taught in the bible that EVERYONE has the Christ inside of themselves…it’s a CONCIOUSNESS, not a name!!!Greater things than these shall you do [that includes you too Alois!]

  16. Dave
    February 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm | #21

    I guess the service God gave was not that good if she is only giving 10% to God…

  17. Elizabeth
    February 3, 2013 at 6:48 am | #22

    Excellent post. If only!

  18. arthur scott
    February 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm | #23

    decent pastors i know give 110 percent to god

  19. Becky Jacks
    February 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm | #24

    This pastor is racist. I bet the waitress was white. Where’s Al Sharpton now?!

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