Regency-leadership theory draws its origin from the first-century church concept of the full lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas and brings that lordship to a logical and intrusive conclusion in the lives of present-day church leaders. In Christ’s final commission in Matthew 28, He said He is the holder of all authority and He is ever-present with us until the end of time. It must follow if Christ still has all authority, then Christian leaders do not. Yet scripture suggests Christian leaders do have authority. We must then infer the authority of Christians in leadership roles must be a delegated authority. When a king or monarch temporarily delegates authority to a follower, the word used to describe the relationship is “regency.”
The foundation of regency-leadership theory rests on the truth that Christ holds all authority (Mt 28:18), placing those in Christian leadership roles as His regents acting fully on His behalf. For example, during the Middle Ages when a monarch left the country he or she would commission a regent position and a person to serve in the position to lead in the monarch’s name and with delegated authority. The monarch expected the regent always to decide in the best interest of the monarch. An honest regent would never act on the thought of using the regency position for personal interest. Similarly, whenever a Christian regency-leader puts personal interest ahead of Christ’s interest in any leadership decision that leader steps outside the delegated regency role as Christ’s representative.
A Christian regency-leader will battle continuously between a desire for personal gain and the desire to be true to the selfless role as Christ’s regent. This internal battle between Christ’s authority and the regency-leader’s self-interest is the core tension Paul addresses when he writes about the Christian struggle between the Spirit and the flesh (Gal 5:16-26). Paul clearly argues the desires of our flesh and the desires for the Spirit battle in our hearts continuously (Gal 5:17). A key to retaining the proper mind-set as a regent of Christ pivots on a leader choosing to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:16) and listen to the voice of the Master.
Many seminal authors have argued leadership theories far different from what this essay proposes. However, Daniel Wren argues that the academic world’s theories of leadership lack the real substance of outside source support. In contrast, scripture unfolds leadership from its biblical perspective which is a reliable outside source. This essay presents regency-leadership theory as a biblical model of Christian leadership and the goal of leadership development.
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