Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

The Inner Circle and Accountability

Last weekend I had the privilege of preaching at the vesper service for my church (UBC).  I preached on Six Lessons from the Life of Solomon.

One thing I talked about was the integrity required to correctly handle success and prosperity.  Solomon was the wisest man in the world, yet it seems his success went to his head.  He forgot that everything ultimately belongs to God.

I believe one of Solomon’s problems was a lack of accountability in his life.  This is speculation I suppose, but it makes sense to me.  A king was absolutely sovereign in ancient times–you could be executed for walking into his presence with a frown on your face.   I wonder how many people were willing to tell him exactly what they thought of his massive harem and temples to false gods.

The Inner Circle Concept

I mentioned my inner circle at this point in the message, and I’d like to expand on it just a little.  There are three guys in my life that I can tell about anything to.  One of them is a college buddy that has known me since I was a teenager.  A couple of them are friends I’ve met since moving to the Philippines.  These friends have earned my trust–something that isn’t easy with a cynic like me.  They also have permission to give me advice.

You may have a different name for it, but you get the concept.  Past presidents, for example, often had what they called a “kitchen crew.”  It consisted of guys they had known since childhood–guys who were not enamored with the president’s title.

Lessons from the Lion 

Even he needs help

I’ll give you an example from the natural world.  The lion is known as the “king of the jungle” for good reason–it is the apex predator on the African plain.  The majestically crowned male is charged with protecting his offspring from other predators.  He does this very well–few animals will dare challenge this heavily muscled beast.

But even the king does better with help.  A single male lion can be overpowered by two or three rivals–I’ve seen it happen (remember, I’m a nature show nerd).   Prides are much safer when under the protection of a pair of male lions.

Accountability in Action

I’ll give you the same challenge I gave my listeners:  build your own inner circle.   Find one or two friends (same sex) that you can be completely honest with–friends that will be honest with you in return.   The encouragement will get you through the tough times and make the victories that much sweeter.  You’ll also have a valuable source of honest feedback when making decisions.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
-Ecclesiastes 4:12


  1. Good point.

    IMHO, one needs to listen to wisdom and to God, not just to inner circles. A kingdom divided when Solomon’s son listened to the advice of his inner circle.

  2. I did not say the inner circle is to be listened to instead of God/wisdom. I’m saying it can be an additional source of valuable wisdom.

  3. Kevin,

    I know it’s more advantageous if your friend is of the same gender but are there advantages too to have a close friend from opposite sex or is that not very advisable?

  4. In my opinion it’s fine to have close friends of the opposite sex, but it really doesn’t work to have an accountability partner of the opposite sex.

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