As we consider sponsorship, we all must be reminded of how we can be good sponsors of pilgrims for the Walk to Emmaus. At a recent gathering in Montgomery, Alabama, my husband Ken and I talked with many members of other communities. One of the concerns of many was being good sponsors. Each time you sponsor a pilgrim, it would be a good thing to read the section in the Day Four book, The Pilgrim’s Continued Journey.
Following is an excerpt from that book. Please read it very carefully. “The strength of any Emmaus community is a direct result of that community’s recruiting practices. If the community is committed to recruiting strong church leaders for the purpose of strengthening the local church, then the community will be a strong, vital force in the renewal movement. If on the other hand, the Walk to Emmaus is looked upon as a hospital where every human ill can be cured, it will have a weakening effect on the entire community. Emmaus is designed to spiritually renew church members who, in turn, can Christianize their environments. The church is a vital part of this renewal effort. If strong church members are recruited to attend Emmaus Walks, the Emmaus community will provide authentic spiritual renewal.
“The overriding purpose of Emmaus is to Christianize environments such as homes, businesses, friendships, and churches. As people have an opportunity to consider the reorientation of their priorities, to experience the grace of God in a loving community, to be wooed by the Holy Spirit to be disciples, and to participate in a supportive group following the weekend, it is only natural that they will want to change the most important things in their lives according to this new experience of love." Page 51, Day Four Booklet.
As you are preparing to sponsor a pilgrim, make sure they are active members in their church; that you aren’t sending them because they are or have been in a bad situation and they need a quick fix. Yes, all people can be renewed by the Holy Spirit on this weekend. And yes, after we make our walks we want everyone we know to experience this for themselves. But perhaps our first mission is to witness to our friends what Jesus Christ can do for them (not the Walk to Emmaus), what the Bible says, and how to pray. And if they do not attend a church, help them find one. When they get into the church, have given their lives to Christ, THEN sponsor them. Their rewards will be greater because they are indeed ready and willing to sacrifice their time and talents for the Kingdom of God.
--Written by Jodi Parsons
Who Should I Sponsor?
There are several qualities in a pilgrim that you should look for. First, the prospective Pilgrim should already be on a pilgrimage, willing to grow and move forward in his or her journey of faith. Second, the person should have a Christian fervor. The Pilgrim knows God can make and has made a difference in their life. Third, the prospective Pilgrim is not so consumed by other situations that he or she will not be able to give full attention to the message and experience of the Walk to Emmaus during the 72 hour experience or follow-up activities.
When you have someone in mind you would like to sponsor, follow these suggested steps:
Pray. Prayer should be focused on how this person can become a more vitally alive Christian in helping bring God’s kingdom into his or her natural environments rather than on how you can get this person to attend a weekend.
Make an appointment. Casual conversation about your experience with Emmaus is helpful, but if you are serious about asking someone to become a part of Emmaus, make an appointment to make the invitation. If the person is married, share with both spouses. Do not recruit one and expect that person to recruit the spouse.
Invite. Share your experience. Make sure the person knows that your invitation is to a more vitally alive relationship with Jesus Christ, not just to attend a weekend retreat. The three days are just a part of a whole new way of life. Explain group reunion, gatherings, team membership and formation and the renewed interest in serving one’s church.
The commitment. Have a registration form with you and ask the prospective Pilgrim to fill it out in your presence, answering questions he/she may have. If the person is married, get an application from the spouse at the same time. Complete the form and mail to the registrar with the fee.
Now, the fun begins. Pray for your pilgrim and stay close to him or her. Collect agape from family , friends and pastor. As the weekend begins, stay in contact with your sponsors family, offering assistance. Attend Sponsors Hour, Candlelight and Closing but at other times, let the Pilgrim have space to make his or her own Walk. Help them find a reunion group. This is so vital. Stay in touch and in prayer as they find their ministry within their church. Help the pilgrim to sponsor appropriately. And always, pray, pray, pray…
For more information see pages 54 & 55 in your Day Four Booklet.
This form has been updated as of 10/15/16. Please discard all others. Thank you.
This form has been updated as of 1/24/18. Please discard all others. Thank you.