Sponsorship is the act of your revisiting The Walk to Emmaus experience with the person whom God has laid on your heart. Through Sponsorship, the Emmaus experience is passed on from person to person which reflects the relational nature of God and the manner in which God reaches out to people through people. Sponsorship is one of the most important aspects of The Walk to Emmaus and requires extensive prayer, diligent thought, and careful planning and follow-through.
Sponsorship is “the first act of agape” before a Walk ever begins. It undergirds the whole weekend “with sacrificial love on behalf of each Pilgrim,” and is the foundation for a healthy, effective Emmaus Movement, which results in the renewal of the church.
Who should you sponsor?
- Church leaders (pastors and laypersons) who will bring new vision, commitment, and understanding to their congregations and who need the renewal and grace that Emmaus offers.
- Dependable church members who serve as the quiet backbone of the church.
- Less Active members who need their awareness of grace rekindled and their commitments renewed.
- Christians who hunger for “something more” and who want to grow spiritually.
How many Pilgrims should I sponsor on a Walk?
ONE! Sponsoring one person in the nurturing love of the community is a time-consuming activity. Adding the burden of sponsoring a second person will compromise your ability to be a good sponsor. As you sponsor, take to heart Christ’s admonition in Luke 14:28-32; count the cost of discipleship before you begin to sponsor.
What are the responsibilities of Sponsorship?
- Prayer is the first step in sponsorship. Through prayer, we commit the process to God and release our control, desires, and expectations. As Jesus exemplified while praying in the garden (Matt. 26:41-42), we too must put ourselves in the position of allowing God to work through us. As we spend this time in prayer, we need to empty ourselves of self to be filled with God’s instruction, God’s timing, and God’s person for us to sponsor.
- Discern who God wants you to sponsor.
- Pray continually throughout the process of sponsorship.
- Make an appointment to share the purpose and benefits of The Walk to Emmaus. Include the Candidates spouse or the parents of a youth who would attend Chrysalis.
- Extend an invitation and seek a commitment.
- Assist the candidate in filling out a registration form.
- Make preparations for the walk. Collect ten to twelve Agape letters, answer questions, and provide a packing list.
- Make sacrifices for your candidate. Consider tasks you can undertake that will make it possible for the candidate to attend such as water plants, pick up mail, feeding pets, or babysit.
- Transport your candidate to and from the event. Help them set up their sleeping area and introduce them to other Community members.
- Support the event during the three days. Sign up for the 72-hour prayer vigil, be present at sponsor hour, Candlelight, and closing.
- Encourage them in their Fourth Day involvement. Help them find a Fourth Day group or begin one with them. Attend the Fourth Day Reunion Gathering at the conclusion of the walks.
- Help your participant act on new commitments. Help them reenter their church and follow through on fresh hopes and dreams, decisions, and changes they feel called by God to make. For a young person not active in a church, invite them to become part of your church and youth group.
- Inform them on ways to serve the Emmaus Community. Support upcoming events through prayer and service. Explain the model of progressive servanthood.
- Help your participant sponsor others. Attend sponsorship training held during the Fourth Day Reunion Gathering at the conclusion of the walks.
What is the Equal Commitment Rule?
Emmaus strongly supports the sanctity of marriage and does not want to become a wedge or a divisive force in marriage relationships. To support these values, Emmaus has developed the equal commitment rule, which is designed to promote harmony in the marriage relationship.
The sponsor presents the information about The Walk to the husband and wife at the same time. Both parties have the opportunity to get the information firsthand and in each other’s company. Each partner may ask questions and hear the questions raised by the spouse. If one partner does not choose to attend, a suggestion is made that the couple think and pray about the decision and wait until the next set of walks. If at the end of waiting, one partner is still disinterested, then sponsor the one who does want to attend, being assured that the other partner agrees.
Emmaus is not intended for married couples only. Emmaus encourages single persons to participate as well.