Alongside weeding is the need to tend plants and nourish the soil to ensure the best growing environment. For leaders cultivation of spiritual disciplines is vital. Here are three:
Elijah suffered from a loss of this when he claimed to be the only faithful worshiper of God left in Israel. (1 Kings 19:14). Yahweh put him straight with some astonishing mathematics – the Divine eye had noted seven thousand faithful followers who had stayed bright during dark days.
The Elijah syndrome is a condition common to Christian leaders and there are different ways to guard against it. Relationships (where honest feedback is sought and given), a healthy sense of humour (which can be a safety valve) and learning to handle criticism and setbacks appropriately are good starting points.
Being “paid to pray” can create an unhelpful professional approach to what is the equivalent of oxygen to our spirits. Conversation with God about all matters – both large and small – is indispensable for leaders to fulfill their calling.
The local church throws up a list of challenges to do with people, money, power, misplaced expectations and, at times, a distinct lack of faith. It’s not nifty political footwork that can break through such barriers. But prayer can.
Try the Jehoshaphat approach: “ We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you”. (2 Chronicles 20:12).
It is possible to develop a passion for ministry, for preaching and for leadership yet lose the greatest passion of all. A Passion for Christ.
John Piper has written of our need to become Christian Hedonists. To make finding pleasure in God our greatest aim. In pursuing this we discover:
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. (John Piper)
An outstanding example of this is Paul, the Christian leader and apostle. Writing from a Roman prison, he gives personal testimony to a passion for Jesus that burned like fire in his bones:
“…….. I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith inChrist – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:8-14)
US General Schwarzkopf (of Gulf War fame) said: “Ninety-nine percent of leadership failures are failures of character”. 
Which reminds us why weeding and cultivating are equally essential to grow healthy leaders.
 James C. Hunter, The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to become a Servant Leader, Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2004 (141)