Currency Exchange: Building Relational Capital Will Get You Everywhere


Each relationship in our lives has an account much like a bank account. Every interaction with another person can be looked at as a transaction.

Where am I going with this? Why am I using such a cut and dry analogy to describe one of the most crucial aspects of the human experience? While I am a pastor, I am also an entrepreneur and sometimes breaking things down into business language helps me make the picture much more clear.

Here’s the point: too often people try to withdraw from accounts without having invested a dime. We want diverse groups of people to come together in our churches, yet we have not invested in a single conversation.

You cannot build cross-culturally if you have not put anything into relationships. Why in the world would anyone believe that you love them or that you are willing to understand where they came from if you have not shown any interest in who they are? Furthermore, why would anyone want to be a part of your church if they do not believe that you love them?

So, how do we fit this in the budget? We count relational investment among our priorities, not as an afterthought. It’s not a one-time see investment, but a steady stream. It is time spent getting to know someone. It is asking God for a true and genuine heart to understand others if you do not naturally care.

Once you have actually invested in a person who is nothing like you, then if there comes a time to withdraw from your account – perhaps you need to correct or advise them – there will actually be funds to pull from. Otherwise, if someone holds a worldview contradictory to scripture and it is your responsibility as a leader to step in, teach and guide, you will be sorely disappointed when the account is overdrawn and the person no longer wishes to be in relationship with you or your church.

Realistically, as a pastor of a growing congregation, I can’t have a deep and meaningful relationship with every single person who is a part of our church family. However, I deposit as much as I can into these accounts through transparency in my sermons and conversations. By making a conscious effort to reveal my flaws, I allow those in attendance to know me, even if we cannot spend individual quality time together during the week. Honesty carries a hefty exchange rate, and this is something that we shouldn’t disregard. I stress this to our church leaders, as well, because transparency builds trust in relationships. It puts currency in accounts.

If you truly desire diversity, you cannot afford to make withdrawals from insufficient funds. People need to know you care.

About Adrian Crawford and Nina Rodriguez-Marty

Adrian Crawford spends his time working as a spiritual and social entrepreneur. The majority of his endeavors are based out of Tallahassee, Florida where he resides with his wife Wendy and their three children. Adrian moved to Tallahassee from Akron, Ohio when he received a scholarship to play basketball at The Florida State University, and aside from a career playing professional basketball in Spain, he has lived Florida's capitol city ever since.

At the onset of his lifestyle of entrepreneurship, Adrian served for seven years as an Associate Pastor for Every Nation Tallahassee and as the Executive Director of 925 Athletic Ministries. This is when he launched his first business, a basketball skills training academy known as GameSpeed Skills. Shortly after, a sister company was born as a non-profit called GameSpeed Nation. Working with others in the church and in his companies, Adrian became skilled and adept at launching those around him in their respective fields. This catalyst effect in the lives of people he was in relationship with continued to grow throughout this time, and Adrian's desire to add value to every place he inhabited became a recognizable reality.

Adrian felt called, and with the support of the leaders at Every Nation, he began a church plant in 2012. In 2013, from a group of 18 committed people Engage Church was born. Engage is a living example of revolutionary living and racial reconciliation. Through Engage's mission of Engaging God, people and culture, Adrian has expanded his heart for reaching people in the circles he influences to equipping others to add value to their respective cultures and spaces.

Those closest to him will say that he is constantly thinking of "what's next" in any free moment. Adrian's bio will inevitably expand and change as time goes, but his heart to add value to others will not; it is the very core of everything he does and it is the lifeblood that makes him a successful spiritual and social entrepreneur.