5 Ways to Minister to Restaurant Servers

 trevor-forbis-pictureOur guest blogger today is Trevor Forbis, a student at the College at Southeastern where he is pursuing a B.A in philosophy. Trevor is my research assistant, and I want you to hear his thoughts from the perspective of a server. He is a member of Restoration Church in Wake Forest, NC while he is also completing the Pastoral Apprenticeship at The Summit Church.

Some of the more formative times in my life were when I worked as a server in the restaurant industry, and I believe God wants us to think about how we can better minister to servers. As guests, and more importantly as Christians, we have amazing opportunities to be salt and light to our world, including in our favorite restaurants. Here are 5 ways to minister to your servers:

  1. Ask and remember their name. Learning your servers’ name shows that you value them. Most diners won't take the time to do that, which makes it that much more meaningful when it does happen. I always felt loved when someone remembered my name, and it also challenged me to remember theirs!
  2. Request them specifically. You can often request to sit in a specific server’s section by asking the host or hostess. I loved when people asked for me to serve them. Because people took the time to get to know me on a regular basis, I felt like I was a part of their family. That meant a lot to a college student who lived eight hours from home.
  3. Tip well. “Well” – this is the key word. Non-believers are showing up believers in the area of generosity. Servers see Sunday as one of the worst shifts to work because of poor tips, and that bothers me. We Christians have an opportunity to show that God has given us amazing grace undeserved. What better way to demonstrate this than tipping your server well, even if he or she doesn’t always deserve it?
  4. Ask how you might pray for them. It's a basic step, but a profound one. You may be the only person praying for them that day … or even at all, for that matter. Also, if you regularly request their section and then ask their prayer concerns, you begin to learn how to better pray for them throughout the week. I recall only a handful of people who asked how they could pray for me, but it meant more than they knew.
  5. Be patient with them. There are times when servers will mess things up. Sometimes it may just be an off day, but often they may be struggling with something in their personal life. Your patience and kindness will demonstrate grace to them. I still remember those who were patient with me, and it actually pushed me to serve them better!

What other ways have you ministered to servers? If you’re a server, how might believers better serve you? 


  • Sam Cotter says:

    Great insights from a young man . . We have learned to practice these . . Especially the very personal one about praying for them. It is seldom that any server refuses or is offended by the question. It gives them the opportunity to consider and rethink their spiritual condition.

  • Jim Watson says:

    With regard to #5, it is also important to remember that the server may not be the problem at all. Servers usually take the hit (often willingly) for people in the kitchen who actually created the problems. A good server will try to minimize the problem by accepting responsibility that may well not be theirs and doing whatever they can to make things right for you (even at a personal cost).

    That might also affect how you handle #3.

  • Bill Choate says:

    As an old server, let’s remember that creating an awkward situation for the server is no gift to them. Loud, visible prayer or conversation may not count as a winsome encounter.
    And let’s be specific – 18-20% is the more typical standard for typing today. You won’t miss it.

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