Ryan Reger

Unleashed: Scaling Deep for Sustainable Impact

Jun 19, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

In this episode, Ryan chats with Sarah Borg, Event Coordinator and Executive Assistant at Kingdom Ecosystems. They discussed the importance of building relationships in order to maximize impact.

Consider joining us on Thursday, September 12 at our Kingdom Ecosystems Workshop to learn why we should scale deep for greater Kingdom impact.


[Ryan]
All right, Sarah, welcome to Unleashed.

So good to see you.

[Sarah]
It’s good to see you too. Thank you so much for having me, Ryan.

[Ryan]
Yeah, of course. So tell us your story, what you’re doing, and King D’Amico says you’ve been around longer than I have. Of course, you’ve known Eli for a long time because he married your sister.

So yeah, just tell us how you got involved with all of this and just anything really, you know, going backwards that kind of led you up to this.

[Sarah]
Sure. Yeah, well, it did start with, with Eli joining our family and so grateful, you know, I, I love how God has wired and gifted him. I love the beauty of, of him and Hannah as a team and as our leaders of Kingdom Ecosystems.

And I would hear Kingdom Ecosystems kind of in passing and always had to ask for some clarity, like what exactly is Kingdom Ecosystems? What, what is he doing? And so it wasn’t until I attended the Global Impact Summit at the end of 2022 and just volunteered a bit that I got to see firsthand, this is Eli’s passion.

This is the heart. This is the anointing God’s put on him to bring leaders together, to bring communities together and businesses to do more for the kingdom to come together so that, you know, one plus one is four instead of two. And so it was kind of like being in the room is where all the things were clicking and being in the room to experience the kingdom, the kingdom is here, the kingdom is now, it’s not far away, it’s not in the future.

And anyway, it was just humbling to be a part and it kind of whetted my appetite to want to know more to experience more to be a part of the community, even if it was volunteering occasionally or doing something kind of behind the scenes. And so that’s really how I started to get connected and so thankful.

[Ryan]
Yeah, that’s awesome. At first, when he first told me about what he was doing, it really took a man like, I don’t quite understand this. And so now it’s like I told him, it’s like an onion that you unpeel.

It’s like, okay, now I understand he talks a little bit more. Okay, I understand that now. So I still feel like I’m that onions being unpeeled, even though I’ve been hanging out with him for a couple of months now, very intensely, always learning new things when he talks.

[Sarah]
Yes, yes. Well, in the growth and acceleration that God is doing in this season, it’s kind of like the onions being unpeeled, but then I think there’s new layers being added at the same time. So it’s really exciting to see all the dynamics that play.

[Ryan]
Right. And with the team growing, there’s more onions done peel.

[Sarah]
I love it.

[Ryan]
I love it.

[Sarah]
It means there’s more stories we get to learn about each other.

[Ryan]
That’s right. I had Jake on just the other day and we’re just learning about there’s things about him. I’m just honestly just getting to know him over the last few months.

And so I feel like I know him pretty well, but I had him on this podcast and he I learned a lot about his past and his story. And it’s really cool. So I love hearing people tell me more about like your pre-KE days.

[Sarah]
Pre-KE days. Well, I’ll tell you my pre-KE days sort of prepared me for now, but I think that it also is such an opposite scenario because I’ve got corporate and nonprofit backgrounds. I’ve worked for a major corporation, but then I’ve also I’ve been on staff at a church.

I’ve helped with other nonprofit entities and then been a part of leadership from a volunteer standpoint and the PTA things like that. But then coming into an environment that’s so entrepreneurial and really a startup has stretched me because it’s like learning how to think in a whole new way for me and to get out of the box. And I’m still learning that daily.

I’m so grateful to Eli for his leadership and his coaching in that regard because it’s kind of like you get to write a whole new story. But I think in that listening to Holy Spirit really closely and not falling into the MO of this is what I’ve always done.

[Ryan]
Yes. Yeah, that’s good. I love what you said, how just some of your past experience has helped you.

Do you feel like and I know the answer is yes to this, that God uses our like all these pieces, like all our hope, our past and prepares us for the future, like you may be in a job and like, why am I here? And can you look back and is there any just any position you’ve had that at the time you’re like, I’m not sure why I’m here, but now you see why or or just is there anything that you feel like you didn’t understand it then, but now it’s like, oh, my gosh, that makes perfect sense. Like I know exactly why God led me that way.

[Sarah]
Yeah. In hindsight, you know, they say it’s 2020. And I think it’s the kindness of God that allows us to see how he’s constantly weaving those things together.

And and there can be some really hard things, you know, hard interpersonal dynamics, hard work environment, hard losses. And and we don’t always see the the redemptive factor or just that preparation. But I’ll tell you, I was working for a financial planning company and the the manager of that division who I was working with was so just it was really hard to grasp what it was he wanted and just kind of to get on that same wavelength.

And it was it was a struggle. But I’ll tell you, the next place I went, I was so prepared to anticipate, you know, who it was actually our senior pastor was on staff with him and was so much better able to anticipate his needs or just kind of the flow of, you know, staff dynamics and his vision and being able to flow with that. But yes, it was it was hard.

And then on a personal note, you know, just going through valleys or things that feel just so ugly and dark, you know, we our first daughter had a chromosome issue. And so we ended up she ended up being delivered at the end of the second trimester went to heaven after a couple breaths. And, you know, of course, not at all how you picture anything going with your first baby or even if it’s not.

And but then in our next couple deliveries, there were certain things about even her delivery and her birth and passing that prepared, prepared the way for our next few daughters and their deliveries and different parts of that. And so even in those moments, you know, the little whisper of Holy Spirit to say, hey, this nothing’s wasted with me. So even if you’ve had to shut down a business, even if you’ve had to restructure, even if you’ve had to just lay something down completely and feel like, you know, that dream or that seed is completely buried.

There’s so much redemption and so much resurrection that he loves to do.

[Ryan]
That’s so good. This is what I’m talking about. Like I said, before we hit record, I have no idea where this is going to go.

And so we’re talking about how God wants to redeem every situation. I love that nothing is wasted with me. I’m just taking notes here because this is good stuff.

Yes, I totally 100 percent agree with that. Well, I didn’t know that about your baby. I’m so sorry.

My wife and I went through had three miscarriages before Callen. And so, you know, as a woman, how rough that is. And so I just and I think it’s something like as I talk to more people, you hear more stories.

I don’t think miscarriage is talked about that much as it just seems like it’s shocked at how many people that happened to. And wow. But God redeems it.

[Sarah]
I’m so sorry that y’all had to walk through that.

[Ryan]
It’s painful. God is good. And we have our Callen and he’s our miracle boy.

So we are grateful. But yeah, you’re right. God, he doesn’t waste anything.

And I feel like he’s in our past, preparing our future. So that is so good. I’m going to ask you about the.

Staying in this kind of the same vein, one thing you’re also doing in the team is that you’re over the prayer team. I think a lot of people would wonder, like, why is that important? I mean, of course, prayer is important, but you don’t typically hear of organizations having a whole department, not that we call it a department necessarily, but a team dedicated to prayer covering.

What’s the vision behind that? The idea behind that? Of course, you’re praying for everything.

I mean, that’s obvious, but. Just unpack that a little bit like why and should other organizations have a team dedicated to be praying for what they’re doing?

[Sarah]
That’s a good question. I was inspired by one of our partner organizations commissioned because Nathan’s Laughter shared that they have an intercessory team. And that just struck me because when he shared that, we were kind of in the middle of a hard situation, a lot of.

More like we were hitting walls at KE. And so I just thought, Lord, first of all, you’ve got nothing to lose, right? But more so, I think just the intentionality of everything that’s happening in the spirit realm is manifest in the physical realm.

And so the good, the bad, the wins, the losses, all of the struggle is up here. And so if we’re not going after and operating in that sphere and everything down here, you know, is we’re missing that element to be fully connected and whole. And so, so grateful for each member of our intercessory prayer team, because, you know, it’s beautiful again, going back to community and relationship, you know, to celebrate the wins together and be like, wow, Lord, we prayed for this.

[Ryan]
Yes.

[Sarah]
And specific things. And then when it happened and, and you see the fullness of it because of the intentionality in prayer, then to see the specific answer, it’s just, it’s powerful. And it’s kind of fuels that fire, like, Hey, let’s press in more.

Not that God owes us anything, but because he wants to partner with us and we want to partner with him because that’s what all of this is for. Right. You know, we’re, we’re here for the kingdom and not for ourselves just to look good or successful or.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Sarah]
Yeah.

[Ryan]
I love that phrase that God wants to partner with. Isn’t that amazing that the God of the universe wants to partner with us? Isn’t that crazy?

It boggles my mind. But it’s true. He wants, he wants to, I mean, here’s where we get a little theological.

And so just curious your thoughts on this. Like do you believe he set up this whole world in such a way that he needs our prayers. He needs us to partner with him because here’s what I’ve heard.

And what I heard people say there’s some people that say God can do everything and can, he doesn’t even need us. And I understand because he’s all powerful, but I believe that he set up like just the order of the universe is that first he gave Adam and Eve control. Here you go.

By sending, they lost it, gave it back to the devil. When Jesus died and paid the price, he took the keys back from the devil, gave it back to man. And so do you, it’s just a way to think about how, what, why you’re praying.

It’s, it’s not that like you’re trying to get God. It’s like, we do have that authority that God has given us authority here on the earth. And so do you believe that God actually needs us to pray in order for things to happen here on the earth?

Like, do we, that authority that we’re kind of partnering with him on, like, here’s our authority, God, that you’ve given us over the situation. And he actually needs those prayers and able to, to work because he’s given us, given us the authority. Right.

Does that make sense? I know that that’s, we could go deep and you could probably have a whole series on this, but would you just thoughts, thoughts on that?

[Sarah]
Wow. Yes, we could go many directions. I think the word need is the one to camp out on.

God is completely whole, completely secure. But I think it’s just the desire is more what can say when we look at the word, you know, he desires Jesus, I think about Jesus walking on earth, fully God, fully human.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Sarah]
You know, he could have chosen to do what he wanted to do by himself. And yet he picked a dozen guys and, and decided, you know, I’m gonna let these people walk with me through the mess and through the ugly, and I know that they’re going to run away from me. But I’m still going to model what it looks like to be vulnerable, to be intimate, to be in community and relationship with other people, because none of us is designed to live in isolation.

I mean, God is Trinity, right? So I think the word need, I would say no, I don’t think he needs us to. But I’ve heard that you’ve probably heard the analogy of, you know, the person that that goes on the cruise ship, and they’re so happy to be on there.

But they like pack PBJ, and they’ve got their little trail mix in their room. And the whole time, you know, they’re just kind of camping out on the cruise ship. And at the very end, somebody’s like, what are you talking about all of this is available to you, these buffets and all this, you know, everything was provided for me.

And so I think about that, you know, God has provided Jesus hanging on the cross wasn’t just for salvation, it was for redemption, for wholeness. And so he’s offering that buffet to us, we get to choose if we’re going to partake and how the whole life can be here. Yeah, versus just kind of thriving on earth, you know?

[Ryan]
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you’re right. Your need may not be the right, he just chooses to partner with us.

And he invites us into the journey to be able to, you know, partner, partner, literally partner with him, do things with him to accomplish things here on the earth. Wow. That’s good.

I didn’t mean to go that direction. Just thinking about prayer and just wanted to get your thoughts on it. Because I love how we have an intercessory prayer team over this thing.

And I know how powerful that is. Because I mean, I’ve seen seen the power of prayer in my own life. And so it just blesses me to know that there’s people behind the scenes that are praying for everything that we’re all doing.

[Sarah]
Yeah, yeah, it’s an honor and grateful to, you know, get to walk with people.

[Ryan]
Absolutely. Well, let’s jump into the, you said something was so good at the beginning that takes us into this section about like relationships. You said one plus one equals four.

And of course, I’ve heard that before. But just joining how I just unpack that a little bit in your own mind, like what the what you said before we hit record about how we tend to be in silos, and when we break those down and become vulnerable and work together that we can accomplish so much more. What does that?

What does that look like for you?

[Sarah]
Eli says something so often that is the first thing that comes to mind unleashing the latent potential of the body of Christ. And a body is many parts, right? I think you fully do what God has called us to each of us to do.

We need each other. We Yes, I, I don’t have all of the things that I need to do what God has called me to do. I need other people, I need mentors, I need spiritual parents, I need people to call up my blind spots, and where I’ve maybe kind of gone off track.

And so to do that, and to go after that full potential is it’s a it’s a group effort, right?

[Ryan]
I mean, yes.

[Sarah]
I’ve loved seeing in the last few months, the beauty of this beautiful mosaic that God’s put together on the team, you know, and you and Jake and Chris and Eli and whoever it is that comes in different seasons, because seasons don’t last forever. So whoever the part and walking more closely, it’s beautiful and a gift to get to receive. Wow, God, that’s you.

Living through Ryan, that’s you living through Eli, and we all get to partake of that, you know?

[Ryan]
Yeah. That’s so good. It feels like I’m as I I’m more in the business world, but I see the ministry, but it’s, it’s obvious to me that it seems like ministries don’t play well together.

And that’s you said before we hit record that it grieves you about that. And to me too, because it’s seems like we could be accomplished so much more if we join forces. And like, hey, we’re all on the we’re on the same team, guys, let’s let’s do this together.

It doesn’t need it’s not a competition. And I feel like like this, you know, the scarcity mentality about, you know, this is my donor list. And if we work together, you’re going to steal my donors.

And, you know, I get that from a human level. But gosh, you know, God is God of abundance. And we need each other to accomplish this thing.

Nobody can do it on their own. So.

[Sarah]
Yes. Yes. I love that you hit on the poverty mentality.

One of our partners shared a piece of wisdom that was given to him. And he said, approach every conversation with a spirit of abundance. And I know there’s a time and place to maybe go after differences if it’s something that’s standing in the way of the greater goal and maybe being out of alignment of the word or whatever.

But I think more often than not, there’s so much that we we have in common that we stand together in alignment with. And one of my spiritual mentors said to me one time we were in a season of on a personal level, just trying to decide where to attend church and where to be involved. And they said, why does it have to be all or nothing?

You know, why? Why can’t it be both? And that actually stuck with me in this season where some of our kids are plugged into a student ministry at one church because it’s amazing.

And then we’re maybe plugged in on, you know, weekend services at another place just because that that is what is working. And I’ve had to let go of it has to be this way. And so I think in business, sometimes it flows more easily for those who haven’t been in a church background because they’re used to more collaboration.

And so I love how Eli is bringing through the team that spirit of abundance and the spirit of unity for kingdom collaboration. And I think that was something that struck me the first time I was at Global Impact Summit was here’s business and marketplace calling and here’s kingdom and here’s Holy Spirit moving and we stick them together. And it’s like fireworks.

[Ryan]
Yes, because yes, yes, yes.

[Sarah]
What greater thing to do than being called in business and bringing the kingdom at the same time? I’m looking for it doesn’t have to be independent.

[Ryan]
I had a guy on my podcast before it was unleashed. His name is Mike Thacker. I need to have him on back, have him back on because he wrote a book called Mike Drop and he talks about business operating on mission equals boom.

And the boom that literally what you just described of when the church and business world gets together, it is it’s like fireworks because I see and just know that there’s so many guys, guys and gals that are not professional ministers. I air quotes guys for the they’re just listening. Feel like I am not qualified to to be a minister because I’m not on stage.

I’m not, you know, a pastor. But the pastors on stage are supposed to be the ones equipping us as believers to do what we’re called to do. And most likely it’s in the marketplace.

Most of us aren’t professional ministers or aren’t going to be pastors of churches and aren’t going to go into full time ministry. But that’s OK, because we can reach way more people in our own in our job and our business than than when. And then if we, you know, a lot of people think it’s oh, it’s a higher calling or it’s like, you know, the pastors up here and you business people are down here.

You’re you’re less than. And that’s and I think I feel like people are starting to learn that’s not the case, that, you know, you’re in you’re in the marketplace and you are valuable. We need you.

And that it’s really flip to like the it’s not pastors up here. It should be ministry people underneath the people in the marketplace. Equipping us to go out and do what we are called to do, whether that’s to be an accountant or a business owner or whatever, or stay at home mom like my wife.

And it’s it’s all valuable. And it’s it’s not it’s not a less than calling. And you’re right.

I feel like there’s a lot of people that are see themselves, especially I just think business owners that are like, you know, I don’t want to be an usher. I don’t want to be I don’t want to I could serve in the nursery. Sure.

But that’s probably not the best use of my gifts. And it seems like there’s a lot of people in ministry that don’t get the business world. So it’s like, you know, stay out of this, stay out of what we’re doing because we know better.

We’re the we’re the church leaders. And you nailed it. Like if they would come together and the ministry people would see the value in the business leaders that are in their church, how much more could we accomplish?

And that’s I guess maybe to sum it up very simply, that’s kind of what we’re doing in Kingdom Ecosystems is taking these groups of people, the five pillars that Eli talks about and putting them together and saying, hey, let’s what can we accomplish together? You’re doing some cool things in your own groups. But if we kind of like break down those silos and come together, what, how much more could we accomplish?

Is that kind of like, does that sum up in a simple way? What we’re all doing here?

[Sarah]
I think beautifully so.

[Ryan]
Okay, good. I’m always I’m learning how to like, okay, this is funny. I was at a Chamber of Commerce meeting with Eli and we were having to stand up.

It was a new member orientation. And we had to stand up and introduce ourselves. We went around the whole room.

So I told him, I told everybody, I spoke for the two of us. Hey, Ryan Rieger, I’m with Kingdom Ecosystems. We help impact leaders create more impact.

And then I said something to the effect about like, you know, the dumbed down version is we were like business because to me, like, it’s hard to, if you’re in a group of complete strangers, it’s what does we help impact leaders create more impact mean? Like, I don’t know what that means. So I felt the need to explain it further.

And I completely botched it and ended up saying that, hey, we’re like a business and ministry consultant. But it was just funny. So now I kind of insulted the whole crowd by saying, you know, to dumb it down for you.

But I’m trying all to say is I’m trying to figure out ways to succinctly and clearly describe what we’re, what we’re all about here. So it kind of makes sense to somebody. Maybe I’ll record, grab what I just said and write it out.

So I have an idea, but what’s go ahead and I’ll let you talk.

[Sarah]
No, I love your line of we help impact leaders create more impact. You know, that’s beautiful.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Sarah]
And to get to the point to be able to verbalize even that in our messaging, you know, I think is a huge win. Because I certainly couldn’t give the 32nd elevator version when I first, you know, came on. But I think as God continues to bring more clarity and growth that we are able to convey that effectively.

[Ryan]
Yeah. What do you say to people when they say, hey, Sarah, what do you do? And then you say, oh, I’m, you know, whatever you say, as far as your job title with Kingdom Ecosystems.

Okay. What’s Kingdom Ecosystems? What do you say to that?

To people who aren’t, you know, in the, in the business world or just, just regular folks who will probably never, ever work with. How do you explain what we do?

[Sarah]
Hmm. Well, it’s slightly different every time, but it’s basically, I say, you know, we build community and help leaders maximize impact so that they’re doing more together than apart.

[Ryan]
I love it. All right. What’s that?

We build community?

[Sarah]
To help leaders maximize impact.

[Ryan]
Oh, that’s good. I think I like yours better. To maximize impact.

[Sarah]
I think we just have a version that we need to put in the mixing bowl and figure out what do we want to do?

[Ryan]
Yeah. Yeah. And do they, when they give you like that glassy eyed look like, huh?

Um, maybe they just like, okay, that sounds nice. And you just go on from there. But for any that like wanted, like, Hey, what, what does that do any of you, any of them challenge you?

Like, what does that mean? Um, and do you have to explain further? And if you do, what does that, what does that look like?

[Sarah]
Yeah. Um, that always takes a little bit more time and, but it’s fun to explain. I think, um, just going deeper, you know, we, we bring, um, some clarity and structure because of the wiring and gifting that God has put in Eli and you and Jake and the whole team so that people can do what they’re doing on a grander scale with the support that they need.

[Ryan]
That’s good. That’s really good. I like that a lot.

Uh, Jake said local. Um, well, let me tell you real quick what Jake said at a local meeting. He said, um, we were at the, um, Oh, the recent thing at, um, Dallas theological seminary, there was an event for, I remember even the name of the event, um, a faith at work summit.

Um, and we were around with a group of guys that were, and Jake was introducing himself and he said that we, um, create communities around problems. Um, essentially I’m going to butcher this up, but essentially the gist was we create communities around problems to solve those problems better. Um, and so I like, it kind of goes along what you said, build community.

He started, he, he led with community just like you did. Um, when somebody, so I always, I mean, my go-to phrase is we help impact leaders create more impact, but that’s feels a little bit more nebulous. Not sure what that means.

I like build community to help leaders maximize impact that gives them a little bit better of a picture. Um, and they could potentially walk away from that and then have a little inkling of what, what, what we’re doing. But when they go ask further, it’s, it’s more like, um, it’s more like what Jake says, where we, we build communities of people and, uh, and just, we just feel like that everybody works.

It’s better together. And that these problems that we’re solving need everybody’s input. And so I say something like that, that it’s, um, that we, we can’t solve these things with just, you know, with this one silo, we need, like, we need the five pillars.

We need the people from government and we need people in education to come together and to truly solve it because they bring in perspective, uh, that we don’t have. And they, especially if they’re believers, they bring something of Jesus in them that we don’t have without their supply. And so it’s fun just to unpack thinking about the body of Christ and how, you know, the hand does need the foot.

Um, and it’s like, we can’t, you can’t walk like people that get their, you know, a big toe amputated. That’s not a big deal. That is a big deal.

It totally messes up how they walk. And so it’s like, we need every little part. So it’s so good.

[Sarah]
I love that picture. You know, the heart of it is relationship. I think, um, whether it’s in business or ministry, people have experienced hurt, they’ve experienced wounding.

I mean, we’re, we’re wounded in community, so we have to heal in community. And I think that again, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, um, but maybe securing us or enough trust built where, Hey, when we have bumps in the road, interpersonal clashes, we’re going to work through it. Because we, we do have the same vision.

We’re working, we’re on the same team. You said a minute ago. And so, um, building that trust is so huge.

You know, we’re not a sales organization. We are for the kingdom and we’re for people. And so at the end of the day, you know, have we honored God in our relationships more than have we gone after a certain number or a certain outcome, you know?

[Ryan]
Yeah. And now I get it when, um, when Eli said he doesn’t do any marketing, uh, he doesn’t have to. And in fact, I probably pushed back a little bit.

Like he, every single time he’s with somebody, I mean, that is marketing. He’s building trust with people. And so like the fruit that we’re starting to see now is from him and you and Hannah two years.

It’s not like this just came up out of the blue and you know, these people now we’re working with, it just popped up and found him. And, um, and so he’s invested two years in sewn seeds. You all have for that amount of time, building that trust to a point now where we’re working with folks.

And that’s why he’s got, you know, a line of people at the door waiting to be helped. Um, because he’s built that trust over that period of time, but it’s not typical marketing, like, you know, Facebook ads and, and all the stuff that I’ve done in my business. Like it’s just, it’s different.

Um, I’d say it’s what he’s doing is way better. Cause it’s, it’s relational.

[Sarah]
Yeah. And I just, I want to honor both him and Hannah because they’ve been so faithful and they’ve said yes, when it costs something and, um, just that faithfulness and obedience is it is it’s bearing fruit. And I’m so grateful for their example as leaders.

[Ryan]
Absolutely. And well, when you, when I first asked you about, um, what you wanted to talk about and you said relationships, is there anything else about relationships we didn’t touch on or you feel like is relevant to what we’re talking about?

[Sarah]
Hmm. Well, we’re really excited because we’ve got our September 12th event coming up and the theme is scaling deep for sustainable kingdom impact and focusing on kingdom collaboration, depth and breadth of relationships, and then measuring growth and impact. And I think the relationship part is, is the root of all the other things, because again, we all want to be seen known.

And so I’m really excited for our September 12th event. So we can dig into those workshops of how do we, how do we truly go deeper in a relationship and, um, from a healthy approach and then the fruit that pops up from that. And what are, you know, what are some things that might prevent us from, from doing that?

How do we overcome some obstacles in, um, building deeper, healthy relationships. And then of course, collaboration and growth impact on top of that. And so I think it’s going to be really, really rich.

[Ryan]
Yes. And thanks for mentioning that guys. I’ll have a link in the show notes to sign up for that for those that are interested, but Sarah, thank you so much.

If you, um, ever have an idea for another episode or just something that pops into your heart that you want to share, just let me know. And we’ll have you back on very much. Appreciate this.

[Sarah]
Thanks, Ryan. It’s an honor to be with you. I’m grateful for you.

[Ryan]
You too.