Good morning, y’all. I guess we will all remember this summer as the one when truth went on vacation and hyperbole came to stay. From the Melania deniers, to the other stalwarts of the Republican party that promote the meme that we are living in the end of times, and that only a Trump presidency can save us, to Trump’s brother from another mother, Boris Johnson, who is now being crushed by the reality of what Brexit really means, the chickens are coming home to roost. Of course, they are the biggest, fattest, best tasting chickens ever. Just ask me.
Anyway, speaking of big numbers brings us back to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. The Wednesday morning breakfast at IHOP was light hearted and jovial. The three Elders were pleased as punch with themselves regarding the mini-revival.
“You know, we probably have been closing off more opportunities over the years than we’ve embraced,” said Elder Wiley. “Maybe our culture, our upbringing, has been holding us back from delivering our message to the world.”
“Are you saying that maybe we’re ‘just shy'”, asked Elder Cheatum.
“Maybe, maybe, we’re just so close knit that we think we’re rejecting the outer world’s values, when we’re really not letting the outer world get to know us.”
“I think I saw about five hundred people that wanted to get to know us on Sunday,” said Elder Diggum, “and about a half of them were asking us for help.” “Well, not us specifically, but Reverend Helen”. “I have never seen the like,” he said as he plunged a cube of pancakes topped by an egg over easy into his mouth.
“I guess the young bard has gone back to school,” Elder Cheatum said as he handed the latest copy of the North Georgia Gazette to Elder Wiley.
“Maybe his editor didn’t think he was all that funny, or insightful, or whatever it was he was trying to do.” Elder Wiley replied, “I do think he pretty well insulted all of the religious factions in the area.”
“Yeah, he was a little heavy on Pentecostals, but who knows, maybe the attention helped the cause.” said Elder Cheatum. “Who would have ever thought that the TV broadcasts would have brought us this much positive attention?”
“I did”, answered Elder Diggum, catching his breath between bites. “Remember, it was my idea.”
Under the glare of his two partners, Elder Diggum revised his statement, “Well, I made the contact.”
“Ok, you made the contact”, replied Elder Cheatum, “but let’s not any of us get confused as to who the star of the show is.”
“Amen”, chorused the other two partners.
As the partners stood in the parking lot ready to begin their work day, Elder Wiley looked at Elder Cheatum and asked, “You got anything special going on?”
“Matter of fact, I do”, replied Elder Cheatum, “I’ve got a line on a very interesting piece of property.”
“Well, let me know if you need any help working out the legalities”, answered Elder Wiley.
“You know I will”, replied Elder Cheatum as he got in his car.
Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting was packed. What was once considered a light, midweek “tuneup” was becoming another full blown service. The usual twenty a week attendees had mushroomed to a hundred. The service that was designed to be more intimate, was now growing to rival that of Sunday service. Prayer Meeting was now becoming another area of concern.
As the Elders sat around the table in the office of the church after Prayer Meeting, Elder Wiley was first to speak. “What are we going to do?”, he asked to the other members. “At first I thought the new faces coming to Prayer Meeting were just tourists.” “You know, people who were curious about us, but couldn’t fight the crowd on Sunday.” “Now I’m starting to recognize people that are here every time the doors are open.”
Mulva Lite seemed to be particularly spirit filled that night, and the secretary/ treasurer jumped ahead of the Elders to speak.
“The net profit for ‘Revival Sunday’ is ten thousand dollars and some change.” The treasure said as she handed out spreadsheets to the Elders.
“I’ve expensed all of the preprinted items that we gave away Sunday as ‘Advertising’.” “I don’t know how we turned an absolute disaster into a rip-roaring success, but we did.”
Before anyone else could speak, the secretary forged ahead, “Since Reverend Helena has taken over, we have had one-hundred-twenty-eight new souls dedicate their lives to the path of righteousness.” “We’ve also had forty-six re-dedications of existing members, which is probably the more remarkable number, if you think about it.”
The secretary was wound up tighter than the girdle of a baptist minister’s wife.
“I’ve been thinking how we could figure out what the broadcasts of the services by Channel 99 in Blairsville is doing for attendance.” “I keep the contributions separate from one another, so we know that number, what I’m trying to figure is, how many people are watching?”
Mulva looked quickly around the table at the Elders and continued, “I was thinking that if I used the metric of one donation for every twenty viewers, and we’re getting over three hundred checks in the mail each week, I’m guessing the viewership for the broadcasts would be about seven-thousand people.” “Has anybody else got a better feel for how to calculate?”
The outburst of upper-math has left the Elders relatively speechless.
Finally, Elder Diggum broke the silence, “Jed Dye says the broadcasts are viewable by about four-hundred-thousand people in the tri-state area.” “Obviously, not all of them are tuned in to the show each week.”
“I think Mulva has really hit on something here that is really important,” said Elder Cheatum as he looked at the secretary treasurer. “The relationship of donors to watchers is a really important metric.” “Knowing that metric would give us the ability to predict what revenues would be generated by an increased viewership.”
Elder Cheatum looked at the secretary and smiled. “Mulva, I know you wouldn’t have brought us a problem without already figuring out the solution, so, do you have anything else for us?”
Mulva smiled back and replied,” I was thinking we could ask Channel 99 if they could do a little mini-commercial for us that would run during the collection.” “We could ask the people watching the broadcasts to write the church requesting a free book marker blessed by Reverend Helena.” “The bookmark would have a scripture printed on it that was ‘specifically chosen for the viewer’ by Reverend Helena.” “We can get the bookmarks for about a nickel a piece, so we could get four-thousand bookmarks for two-hundred dollars.””It won’t be totally accurate, but people always want something for free, and it has the value of being blessed by Reverend Helena.”
The Elders are gob-smacked. Their mouths were so open that they were lucky it was winter, otherwise they would have been trapping flies.
After a few seconds, Elder Cheatum spoke, “Wow, I thought I was the one that was going to drop a bomb on everybody.” “I was sure not giving everybody the credit they deserve.” “Outstanding, Mulva, I’m really impressed, and I motion we move forward on Mulva’s proposal right away.”
The motion carried.
“Barry, handle the details with Channel 99, we want to start this Sunday if possible.” Elder Cheatum continued, “Mulva, order the bookmarks and alert the Ladies Auxillary that they’ve got some envelope stuffing in their future.” “Alvin do you see any legal implications, here?”
“I think we’re good as long as the commercial doesn’t promise that the bookmark has healing properties.” Elder Wiley said. “We don’t want to run afoul of the medical profession.” “Excellent, excellent”, replied Elder Cheatum, “Now I’ve got some really interesting business to discuss.”