The secret sauce for growing your Bible study organization

One burger restaurant chain has what they’ve labeled a “secret sauce.” It’s a blending of several other secret-sauceingredients into one original sauce. Other burger joints followed suit, and now almost every place you eat has what they call a “secret sauce.” Even movies like Good Burger poke fun at the idea of a secret sauce that has unknown ingredients. Truth be told, if you blend mayo, ketchup, and Thousand Island dressing, you’ll probably come up with a “secret sauce” very close to the kind you get in most restaurants. The secret’s out.

Flake’s Formula

Arthur Flake was an employee of the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention “back in the day.” He developed a formula for growing Sunday School that is still used today. It’s a “secret sauce” that’s not so secret anymore. It works. It’s not hard to understand. It’s not hard to implement. His five-step formula has been used by thousands of churches to grow their Bible study organizations.


There’s the formula – do you know what those little letters stand for? They are a simple acrostic to help us remember the key ideas in this Sunday School “secret sauce” formula for growth:

Know your possibilities

Enlarge the organization

Enlist and train the leaders

Provide space and resources

GO after the people!


The Secret Sauce Explained

Know your possibilities – Imagine what could be. Who are you not reaching? What new groups could be started? Where could those groups be started? This is the stage where you dream about the future, seeing underserved or under-reached people groups.

Enlarge the organization – Once you know your possibilities, declare which groups you’ll be starting or expanding in order to reach people. Do this before you have group leaders enlisted. Act in faith. Trust God to provide the necessary leaders.

Enlist and train the leaders – Properly enlist the new leaders you will need to fill the openings in your newly designed organization. Once you’ve asked them to commit to provide leadership, it’s your turn to provide the training they’ll need to be successful.

Provide space and resources – Bible study groups need places to meet. Determine the best locations (those may be on or off-campus) and provide Bible study resources for them to use in their groups.

GO after the people – Start new groups with trained leaders at predetermined locations. These groups will not wait around for people to show up, but will be proactive in finding new people to belong to their groups.

For more information about Arthur Flake and his “secret sauce” formula for growing Sunday School, 5-step-formulapick up a free digital copy of the book The 5 Step Formula for Sunday School Growth.

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