[Music starts, then fades.]
VOICEOVER: Welcome to the Shark Tank, where hopeful entrepreneurs try to grow their business by partnering with one of these savvy investors.
First, meet Noah Morisk, a mail carrier by day, Netflix fan by night, who has gotten where he is today by playing it safe. Noah is married and has two teenage sons and a pre-teen daughter.
Our next shark is Wanda Savemore, a retired schoolteacher living on a fixed income. Wanda loves children, gerbils, and origami.
Our third shark, known for his shrewd money management is Will Proffit, lovingly referred to as “Mr. Incredible” here in the tank. Will is a financial advisor, motorcycle enthusiast, and avid helicopter skiier.
And finally, our last shark is Jen Russly, a high school student and member of the church youth group who is learning what it means to be a part of a church. Jen babysits and pet-sits in her free time.
Although all of our sharks have different sized bank accounts, they all have the means and the desire to invest in something. The question is, will they find the ventures set forth in the tank worthy of their time and talents?
Let’s find out on….Shark Tank - Church Edition.
[Music swells, then fades.]
God: “Hello, Sharks. My name is Yahweh [no response from Sharks]…the Most High [still no response]…God [sharks squint eyes]…most recently, Jesus? [Sharks nod heads, finally recognizing his name.]
I come to you today with an incredible opportunity to invest in what I am doing here on earth. Way back in the beginning, after I created the world, I noticed a problem that all humans have – and that problem was called Sin, with a capital S. I decided to take care of that problem by investing everything I had on the cross in order to forgive humankind - past, present and future. This is good news, wouldn’t you agree? Well, not everyone knows the news yet. And that’s where YOU come in. I am asking you to give me your lives – that is, your time, your energy, your imaginations, plus ten percent of your money, for a 100 % stake in my company.
Now, who’s with me?
Will: Wait – let me get this straight. You invested everything you had in your company?
God: That’s right. I didn’t hold anything back.
Will: Impressive. What has the response been like?
God: I’ve had steady business for about 2,000 years and lots of satisfied customers.
Noah: You say you want my time, my energy, my imagination. I can handle that. But ten percent of my money? That’s a ridiculously steep request. What do you plan to do with it?
God: With “your” money, I will do the same thing I have been doing for years: through the organization called the Church, I will care for the most vulnerable, feed the hungry, equip people to live out their faith wherever they are – and in this way, spread the news that all people are forgiven and loved – that hope has come.
Will: You mean you are going to entrust my money to a flawed human organization and let them decide how the money gets used? That’s not just risky; that’s foolish.
God: That’s the way I work, Will. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and as crazy as it sounds, the partnership works. You might say that my power is made perfect in human weakness.
Wanda: And if I invest with you, what results do you promise? What problems will be solved?
God: Well, all of them. But I’m on a different timeline. You might not see dramatic results like you’d hope in the here and now, but my plan is 100% guaranteed to win.
Noah: For me, your venture to feed the hungry and so on just sounds too “pie in the sky.” I mean, you will never be able to feed everyone and care for all people in need. I just can’t picture you being successful in the end.
God: Here’s the deal, Noah. I already succeeded two thousand years ago. All the hurt, all the pain, all the suffering that will ever be felt or caused – I paid for it on the cross and took away its ultimate power. When you join me in mission, you get to be a part of showing the world that I have already succeeded, that there is nothing to hold back when it comes to showing love, because my “company” wins in the end!
Wanda: If I can jump in here, I have to say that this is very different. I tend to follow my woman’s intuition and invest in people, not products…and I like your confidence.
Will: To me you seem overconfident.
Wanda: Will, you just interrupted me. Don’t listen to him, Jesus. Mr. Incredible usually doesn’t know what he’s talking about. What I want to know from you is how I can trust that I’ll get my money back. If I agree to give you ten percent of my money, I would expect to see at least that much come back to me.
God: I can understand that desire, Wanda. I’ve had past investors expect prosperity to come back to them. Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that you will see your money again. I can say that when you let go of your money, you are forced to trust me. And when you trust me, you are blessed.
Noah: O.K., I’ll admit that I do have trouble letting go of my money. I haven’t gotten where I am today throwing money around carelessly. You know, my kids’ college years are creeping up on me, so I’ve got to be cautious with how I spend my money – for their sake. And if there is no guarantee that I’ll be seeing my money again, I just don’t feel comfortable giving it to you. I’m sorry, but I’m out.
God: I understand.
Will: I’m interested, and I am willing to make you an offer. I have invested my money and my time in many other places, and I don’t have the extra capital right now that you are talking about. I mean, ten percent of what I make? That’s a lot of money.
I am willing to offer you one percent of what I make – (and I’ll venture to say that my one percent is more than the combined income of the rest of these so-called sharks). But I don’t need a one hundred percent stake in your company; frankly, I don’t care to be that involved. Just give me a five percent stake. I’ll give you one percent of my income for a five percent stake.
Wanda: But if I heard you right, you’re asking for more than ten percent. You want our whole lives, right?
God: You’re exactly right, Wanda. But if you really want to join me in mission, I want your whole heart – one hundred percent. If you partner with me, I want you to be loving people everywhere you go – in your families, in your workplaces or schools, in your retirement home. There is no such thing as having a five percent stake in the work I am doing.
Wanda: So why ten percent of my money? How did you land on that figure?
God: Ten percent is an amount that I’ve been asking for from investors since I started this venture; it requires sacrifice and good planning – but it also leaves you ninety percent to provide for yourself and your family’s basic needs.
Wanda: I do like you – don’t get me wrong. But what would work better for me right now is to be a customer rather than an investor. I like what I get from the church – the friendships, the support in hard times, the inspirational sermons. When I was younger, I loved having other people look out for my children and teach them to have faith. But I am on a fixed income. I could get behind what you’re doing, but I think all I can commit to is giving you the spare cash I have in my purse when it’s there. I am not ready to be an investor in such a high stakes company. I’m out.
Noah: Jen, you’ve sure been quiet over there. The Man needs to hear from you.
Jen: I am really compelled by what you’ve said. There are a lot of choices of things to give my life to – my schoolwork, my friends, my volleyball team, my future goals – but there’s something special about your company. I feel like if I partnered with you, I would be a part of something that mattered, that was making a difference in the world. So I’m ready to make you a deal. [Other sharks express surprise or condescension.
I don’t make much. On average, between my allowance and pet-sitting and babysitting, I’d say I make about $100 a month. And I’m trying to save for a car right now. But I will give you what you’re asking for: ten percent of what I make, plus my time and energy and imagination. But maybe you don’t want that. Will’s offer is still on the table, and I’m sure that what I can give you is not as much as what he can give you.
God: Jen, I would be honored to partner with you. What matters to me more than the amount you give is the trust with which you give it. Will, I would accept your offer too, because everyone has to start somewhere. I believe that as you give and as you partner with me, your trust will grow.
Noah: Is it too late for me to change my mind?
Wanda: I also would consider coming back in – but not all of us can have a 100 % stake in your company, right?
God: [Long pause, looking around at the congregation] It is not too late – and it is not only possible, it is necessary for everyone who joins me to have a 100 % stake in what we are doing together. What would you like to do?
All sharks together: I’m in!
God: [moving forward to shake hands with all the sharks] I am thrilled with your decision. We are going to make a great team.