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East County Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2021 5 months ago

Lakewood Ranch-based Kingdom Business Alliance keeps God first

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The Kingdom Business Alliance has grown to 29 members in six months.
by: Brendan Lavell Staff Writer

Every Tuesday at 7:30 a.m., members of the Kingdom Business Alliance descend upon the Grove, 10670 Boardwalk Loop in Lakewood Ranch, to begin their weekly meeting with a prayer.

Co-founder Scott McKay said the organization is a worship group made up of businesspeople.

“KBA is not just about referrals, it's about relationships,” McKay said. “I think that relationships are the secret sauce. God operates and moves through the context of relationships.”

McKay and co-founder Greg Claxton said people might join their organization because they’re interested in business referrals, but they’ll stay because of the connections they form with God and each other. The referrals then become a natural byproduct of the Christian relationships members have formed with each other.

“A lot of people feel like they're having church here when they come,” Claxton said. “The community is here. Just because we go to church on Sunday doesn't mean we can't have it on Tuesday.”

At each meeting, all members get the chance to give 30-second “commercials” where they can explain something happening with their business. Two members are chosen in advance of each meeting to give 10-minute presentations about their businesses, which provides an opportunity to go much further in depth.

Guests are allowed to come to two meetings before they must decide whether or not to join the alliance. Regular attendance is a crucial aspect of being a member, though exceptions are made for vacation, emergencies and other mitigating circumstances. KBA admits only one member per profession to prevent competition within the organization.

“If we had three realtors in here, there would be some politics,” McKay said. “By only allowing one realtor in the group, we're protecting him. We're protecting against those kinds of human insecurities, envy and jealousy and all that. There's no place for that here, because we're family.”

The organization has grown from three members in December to 29 businesspeople of all ages at the end of June and hopes to double in size by the end of 2021. The organization does not prescribe to a specific denomination of Christianity. The organization has based itself in Lakewood Ranch because it is a central location that can be reached by people in Bradenton, Sarasota and even Venice, thanks to its close proximity to the interstate.

Kingdom Business Alliance was formed in October. McKay and Claxton, who knew each other from Bayside Community Church, were among its founders. They wanted to find a way to support each other’s businesses, so they sat down together with Chris Galli to figure out the best way to do so.

McKay, a Greenbrook resident, said from the very first meeting, he could feel the Holy Spirit guiding them toward creating an organization centered around God.

The others quickly agreed, and they scrapped their early plans for an organization called Premier Networking Group and re-centered the idea around their faith. Claxton said this shift led them to stop thinking about how they could help their own businesses and instead focus on how they could help other people’s businesses.

“When I'm thinking about everyone else's businesses before my own, I don't have to think about my own,” McKay said. “I have 29 successful business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking at me, thinking about how they can support and encourage my business. It just works beautifully, and it's God's design.”

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Brendan Lavell is a general assignment reporter for the Observer. He earned degrees in journalism and history at the University of Missouri. He has visited 48 of the 50 United States, has a black cat named Arya and roots for the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, 76ers and Chelsea FC.

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