Relational equity simply means that someone is growing in worth as it relates to the people in their sphere of relationship and/or influence more and more as time passes.
Relational equity is affected with every interaction you have. If the person you’re connecting with has a positive experience with you, you gain some relational equity. If the person you’re connecting with has a negative experience with you, some relational equity is removed from the relational equity account.
A pastor and extremely gifted thinker and communicator was serving one of the most influential churches in America. He’d come to Christ through that church, been baptized there, and became a prominent teaching pastor. When another church came calling he went for the interview. During the few days he was there he was invited to the senior pastor’s home for a meal and an evening of conversation. He took the position. When asked why he left the church he had so many spiritually historic moments with and ties to his response was quick, “I was part of that church for over a decade and was never invited to the senior pastor’s home.”
If you’re going to build relational equity with people you need to know what the relational spaces are then invite those you’re building relational equity with into those spaces. I believe those spaces are as follows with the first one listed being the least relational and the last one listed being the most relational.
- Restaurant Space – The terms speaks for itself. Anytime you share a meal with someone in a restaurant you have connected on a relational level. And, if you are the one doing the inviting (and you’re getting together just to be together, not to do business), you’ve acquired some meaningful relational equity.
- Recreational Space – Recreational space would be the golf course, the tennis court, the hiking path or anyplace else you spend time with someone experiencing a recreational activity together.
- Retreat Space – Retreat space would be anytime you and another person or some other people are escaping the drudgery of real life to go off together. This could be a camping trip, going to a state park for a few days, or going to a weekend basketball tournament in another city or town.
- Home Space – There is nothing more intimate and encouraging than being invited into someone’s home. When you invite someone to your home you’re saying to that person or those people that you want them to know you really and you want to know them really. Keith Inman, one of my dearest friends and the pastor at First Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, upon arrival at the church had every small group over to his house for dinner, one group at a time. A lot of work for sure, a lot lot of relational equity built… no doubt about it!