Should Christians Tip their DJ?

There are always times when you're going to come across a situation where you ask yourself if you should give someone who has provided a service for you a gratuity. Should you tip?

More to the point, should you tip if you're a Christian?
The answer is Yes. 

Thanks for reading.

...Oh, I'm sorry, is that not enough of an explanation? I guess I thought that Christians would know how important it is to be generous, given that the crux of Christianity is predicated upon God being generous in the ultimate fashion for our salvation... but I guess you need some more insight.  Okay.

Here's why this question comes up with me. Working as a mobile DJ on the weekends, the majority of the events I work are wedding receptions. When a couple plans a wedding reception, they've got a lot of vendors that they're working with, and they usually tip several of them.

They might tip their photographer.
Their videographer.
Their catering staff & wait staff.
Their bartenders.
Their chauffeur.
Their photo booth runners.
Their event planner.
Their cake baker.
Their entertainment.

However, for some reason, a lot of people don't consider tipping their entertainment, which kind of blows my mind.

Let's break it down...
Your photographer and videographer both capture what happens, and if they're any good at all, they do it artistically. Still, they only capture what happens. Aside from specific posed shots, they don't MAKE the night happen.

The catering staff and wait staff are tipped because we're used to tipping servers, and sometimes, the caterers figure the gratuity into the final price. No surprise there. Same with the bartenders.

The chauffeur takes the wedding party (a small percentage of the guests, albeit the most important) from place to place, sometimes to get pictures at different venues, and sometimes so the wedding party can drink while going from place to place. Realistically, you could make this happen by getting a friend with a really large vehicle to be the designated driver for the lot of you. Still, they cart people around, and that's pretty much it. Again, they're not MAKING the night happen.

The photo booth is a kind of entertainment, but usually is not the main attraction at the reception. If it was, everyone would have one. They set it up and maintain the equipment, but their involvement goes only so far as what the main event allows.

The cake baker bakes a cake, delivers it, and sets it up, and their part is pretty much done.

The event planner has the responsibility of putting all these things together and making sure the vendors know what they're doing, when, and how it should be done. Certainly, they should be tipped because they put all the pieces together. However, not everyone uses an event planner -- in fact, most couples I work with don't.

That brings us to the entertainment.Several years ago, a study was done to determine what brides, grooms, families, and guests remember and like the most about the weddings they've attended. This study remarked that over 80% of the guests that attended a wedding remembered the entertainment more than they remembered anything else about the wedding. More than the venue, the food, the bride's dress, the ceremony, the cake, anything.

I find it interesting that the study didn't indicate whether or not the people being surveyed thought the entertainment was GOOD or not ... just that it was what they remembered the MOST. That tells me that for someone's wedding reception, the entertainment -- something that most couples spend the least amount of money on -- actually determines the success of their reception more than any other single factor. It literally makes or breaks the party.

Don't believe me? Ask anyone that's ever left a reception early because they were bored, and they'll tell you the quality of entertainment makes a HUGE difference.

So with that in mind, yes, you should absolutely tip your entertainment, especially if:
A. They did everything you asked, or...
B. People have given you compliments on their performance, or...
C. People have said this was the most fun they've ever had at a wedding, or...
D. Your entertainer had to jump through some hoops to make your requests happen (i.e., download obscure songs, learn new music just for your event, set up their system in 2 different areas, etc.), or...
E. Your entertainer helped with things outside of their actual job (clearing plates from tables, helping to set up, cleaning up spills or messes, spoke with the venue on your behalf, etc.), or...
F. Your entertainer checked in on you a few times throughout the night to make sure everything was going well for you, or...
G. You're a freaking Christian.

It's this last one that irks me that I even have to say it. As Christians, we're called to be a light to the people around us. One of the ways we're called to do that is through generosity. The Bible is even very specific about how we manage our money with regard to giving to others. Check out this scripture from II Corinthians.

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will reap generously." (II Corinthians 9:6)

Further down in the chapter, in verse 11, Paul talks about the generous giver, and what God says about him:

"You will be enriched in every way so that you can generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."

And again in verse 13...

"Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the Gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else."

I bring this up because as a DJ, I've noticed a phenomenon. Whenever I do an event for a couple who are Christians, with a few notable exceptions, I either don't receive a tip, or I get tipped very, very little.

There was the time I drove 35 miles, one way, to meet with a couple who insisted on meeting in person instead of over the phone, and not only were they 30 minutes late for our meeting, but they tipped me only $20.00 at the end of the night. Christian couple.

The young couple whose reception was at a very nice, expensive country club, who had been given my name as a high recommendation, and whose crowd I whipped into an excited frenzy from the moment dinner started. I received a $40.00 tip. Christian couple.

The close-knit churchgoing couple who had been to a reception I'd done before, and absolutely HAD to have me for their wedding, then tipped me nothing at the end of the night. Christian couple.

The couple whose request list included about 40 songs NOT in our catalog, many of which I acquired at my own expense and time, then who showed up over an hour late for their own reception, only to leave without tipping me, even though I entertained their crowd while waiting for the wedding party to arrive. Again, Christian couple.

Unfortunately, I could go on. However, I should note that some of the most generous tips I've received have been from people, including the reception I did less than 48 hours prior to this publication, who made a point to tell me that they weren't "very religious". In these cases, I've almost always been tipped $100.00 or more.

Getting one of these sucks.
Regarding non-tipping Christians, I wish I was exaggerating, but this seems to be an epidemic of ignorance. More than ignorance, actually -- flat out stubbornness and defiance of the Word. We've all seen the stories on social media where people who call themselves Christians refuse to leave tips for servers at restaurants, and instead leave them notes explaining why they're not tipping. Honestly, no explanation is necessary -- the server sees the lack of a tip and already knows you're stingy with money, which is the opposite of what you're supposed to be, according to what you claim to believe. I've even heard stories from servers who groan at the thought of working a lunch shift on Sundays because they know that Christian families, who often attend after church lets out, will flood their seating areas, then leave Gospel tracts in lieu of a gratuity.


Now, it should be noted that I'm not counting people who I know were on a tight budget, and who chose to hire me as their DJ because they knew me, while knowing it would cost them more than if they went with someone else. I acknowledge that what these people would have given me as their gratuity was likely spent on my contracted amount so that they could get the DJ they wanted (my services are more expensive than many of my independent competitors). And quite frankly, I was grateful enough for that, because those events led to more business from others who attended their weddings. So I'm not talking about those couples that knew me personally and simply couldn't give me a gratuity. Frankly, some of my closest and dearest friends asked me to be their DJ, and if they had tried to tip me, I would have refused it, because it was an honor that they asked for me in the first place.

I'm talking about people who obviously have the means and should know better. People who, even though they know the Word of God and claim to live by it, conveniently forget about the mandate of generous living when it comes to giving tips to anyone. People who know the customary gratuity amount is 10% to 20%, yet give significantly less than that because it's uncomfortable to part with that much cash. Believe me, I know what it's like to tithe off of an $800 bonus check. But 10% is still 10%, regardless of how large the number is, and I do it because I trust that God will enrich me "in every way" so that I can be generous "on every occasion", and that being generous "will result in thanksgiving to God."

And you know what? That's EXACTLY what happens when I give generously, when I tip generously, when I share myself generously, and when I love generously. People are drawn to God because of it.

You Christians out there that refuse to tip, or that low-cut the tips you do give, are probably doing more to drive people away from a relationship with God than Christian leaders that fall from grace through sin in their lives. If you refuse to tip generously, people WILL remember you, but not for the reasons you'll want them to. You don't have to have a national platform to be a D-bag.

Now, by all means, if the service you received isn't anywhere near what you were sold or what you expected, then don't tip. Be honest about how you feel you were treated, though, and don't leave snarky notes or give the person that provided you the service the cold shoulder. Man up and explain why they're not getting tipped. They might not like it, but at least you'll be justified in your reasons instead of simply looking like you just don't care.

Just some food for thought.

There Is No Box.