Lunch with Pastor Bob was fascinating! It was absolutely amazing to solve the great mystery: What kind of Marketing Plan for Dying Protestant Groups could overcome the disappearing congregations?
“Frankly, Pastor Bob, I thought you would have been closed down by now. When I left to become Catholic, your church was already running out of children.”
“You’re right! We thought we were going to have to close most of our churches! Frankly, if The Marketing Plan for dying Protestant Groups had not been developed, we’d have had to spend all our endowments. No pensions, no benefits, no future at all. Now, The Marketing Plan for dying Protestant Groups lets us squeeze every last penny out of every dying oldster! What a wonderful blessing that’s been!”
“I’m surprised that just getting them to rewrite their wills generates that much money? Surely, some of them leave some assets to children and heirs?”
“Not if we can help it! After all, these are people who are Protestants because they wanted to use birth control because they didn’t want to have more children. The most important thing to them is signing all their assets over to us and feeling as if they’ve done something noble. ‘What fools these mortals be’!”, Pastor Bob quoted, in actual glee.
Then, as the waiter poured our third glass of wine, Pastor Bob pulled his chair a little closer. “I shouldn’t tell you this,”, he said, “but getting oldsters, with and without dementia, to write wills giving us everything they own is only part of it. We also get them to give us what they don’t own! It’s The Marketing Plan for Dying Protestant Groups Part II!”
I was intrigued. “How do you get more from a dying oldster than they have?”
“It’s like the ‘loaves and fishes’!” Pastor Bob actually giggled. “What we do is wait until they reach a certain age, and we get ’em to buy an insurance policy! Guess who’s the beneficiary?”
“You.”, I said, aghast that my old church had turned into a money machine.
“Well, we always encourage the presiding minister to be named as a partial beneficiary. But, since the actuarial service is too expensive and complicated for us to afford, we have to name some group assigned by highest levels of The Protestant Consortium. They’re the ones who hired the Public Relations and Marketing experts who developed The Marketing Plan for Dying Protestant Groups.”
“Why not do it yourself?”, I asked. “Why do you need some expensive experts?”
“Some of the mega-churches are big enough to handle it. But, the Protestant Consortium has the best mathematical formulas and computer projections. We feed in total medical histories, often with parents and grandparent causes and ages of death. Our computer programs can predict deaths within a year or so. That way, we don’t waste money on premiums. And, we do have to spread the policies around. We can’t have insurance company actuaries or trial lawyers getting wise to what we’re doing!”
“How big a policy do you get?”
“If we don’t get greedy, there’s no investigation. So, we pick anything up to a quarter million dollars. Average policy amount? About two hundred thousand dollars. In our own little church, we have about five people dying every year.”
“You’re making a million a year?”, I said, astonished.
“More than that! Don’t forget, we get a lot of cash, stocks, bonds, and property left to us in the wills we help them write! If their children and grand-children knew everything we were taking away from them, they’d hate us! Absolutely hate us!”
I could understand why there weren’t many young people in their churches. I’d learned a lot. Before lunch, I didn’t even know about The Marketing Plan for Dying Protestant Groups. Now, I knew than ever, and lunch wasn’t even over!