Sponsorship | Registration
Form | Sponsor
Form | Sample
Agape Letter | Sponsor's
Walk to Emmaus Sponsorship
Good sponsorship is vital to the integrity of Emmaus. Many communities
take sponsorship for granted; they assume that everyone knows the how
and why of sponsorship. Yet sponsorship is the most important job in
Emmaus. It is more than just “signing up people”. The quality
of sponsorship influences the pilgrim, the health of the Emmaus Movement,
and the church affected by the movement.
First, good sponsorship is your first act of agape before a Walk ever
begins; the experience of the Walk for a pilgrim really starts with how
we handle sponsorship.
Second, good sponsorship undergirds the whole weekend with sacrificial
love on behalf of each pilgrim. Sponsors use discernment in recruiting
pilgrims, embody the personal commitment of the community to each pilgrim,
and provide personal acts of agape during the three days for the pilgrims.
These acts of agape include prayer, agape letters, presence at Send off,
Candlelight and Closing, and follow-up.
Third, good sponsorship is the foundation for a healthy, effective
Emmaus movement that is fulfilling its true purpose - the development
of Christian leaders and the renewal of the church in ministry. The strength
of any Emmaus community is a direct result of its 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.
WHY DO WE SPONSOR?
The aim of a sponsor should not be to “get all my friends to
go”, to fill up the weekend, to fix people's problems, or to reproduce
one's own religious experience in others. Rather, the aim of the sponsor
is to bring spiritual revitalization to Christians who, in turn, will
bring new life and vision to the work of the church in the congregation,
home, workplace, and community. The aim of sponsorship is to build up
the Body of Christ.
WHOM DO WE SPONSOR?
One's awareness of and commitment to the purpose of Emmaus influences
who is sponsored and how they are sponsored. Emmaus is for active Christians
and members of churches whose own renewal will mean new energy, commitment,
and vision in the church and everyday environments for Christ's sake.
There are several qualities a prospective pilgrim should possess.
First, the person should already be on a pilgrimage, willing to grow
and move forward in their journey of faith. Second, the person should
have a Christian passion. The pilgrim knows God can make and has made
a difference in their life.
Third, the person isn’t so consumed by life’s circumstances
that they are unable to give full attention to the message and experience
Those sponsored could include the following:
- church leaders (pastors and laypersons) who will bring new vision,
commitment, and understanding back to their congregations and who need
the renewal and grace Emmaus channels;
- dependable church members who are the quiet backbone of the church;
- less active members who need their awareness of grace rekindled and
their commitments renewed;
- Christians who are hungry for “something more” and who
want to grow spiritually;
- Respected laypersons and clergypersons whose participation, support,
and leadership will encourage others to attend the Walk and will build
a sound, balanced leadership base for the movement in the community;
- members of diverse congregations, denominations, and ethnic groups.
Emmaus is right for many people - but not for everyone. The religious
background or emotional condition of some people may make Emmaus an improper
discipleship tool for them. Others may be unsuitable for sponsorship
because of the negative effect they might have on an Emmaus weekend or
the divisive influence they might bring to the church. Sponsorship requires
sensitivity to these factors. Some examples of questionable sponsorship
are as follows:
- Christians whose theology and/or practice is notably different or
incompatible with the traditional theology and practice represented
by The Walk to Emmaus;
- persons undergoing an emotional crisis (for example, family breakup,
job loss, severe grief) or who are psychologically unstable;
- “church-hoppers” – those who always have an axe
to grind against the church; persons who will use Emmaus as a tool
to divide the body, to further their own theological agendas, or who
will create an “Emmaus church”;
- persons who are always looking for another spiritual high or another
experience to help them “arrive”; and
- persons who decide not to attend a Walk after being presented the
opportunity. A potential sponsor need not feel like a failure if a
prospect says no. Perhaps the timing is not right. Perhaps God will
renew the person in another way. Remember, The Walk to Emmaus is not
the way to renewal for every Christian.
Wise sponsorship is purposeful and prayerful; unwise sponsorship
is haphazard and undiscerning. Wise sponsorship eventually will produce
a balanced, theologically centered movement of the Holy Spirit. Unwise
sponsorship eventually will produce a harvest that becomes more of a
burden than a blessing for the church.
HOW DO WE SPONSOR?
- Pray for the person's openness to God's call to discipleship, not
for how to get him or her to go on a Walk.
- Extend an invitation. Invite the person to attend for the sake of
a more vital relationship with Jesus Christ, not just an event to go
to. Share your faith; explain the basic elements of the Walk, its purpose,
and follow-up dimensions, which help us live in grace for the rest
of our lives. Take the attitude that you are offering the person a
wonderful gift rather than that they need to go.
- Ask the person to make a commitment by filling out the registration
form. If the person is married, speak with both partners and encourage
an equal commitment by both. ALL parts of the application must be completed
- Continue to pray for your prospective pilgrim. Once the pilgrim has
been assigned to a Walk, begin to prepare agape letters and enlist
the support of their pastor. Collect eight to twelve personal agape
letters from spouse, family, pastor, and close friends. Please try
to make sure that your pilgrim’s agape letters are properly addressed.
It is helpful to make sure the letter writer is identified in the upper
left corner of the envelope using the terms spouse, son, daughter,
brother, sister, mother, father, etc. rather than just “family”.
The reason for this is because the number of letters handed out on
Sunday is now limited and it is most important to be able to easily
identify immediate family letters. If they receive more than ten letters,
the rest are put in a separate bag to be taken home to read. Do not
send personal agape for the pilgrim to be delivered during the weekend.
Pilgrims are not allowed to receive individual agape during the weekend.
- Support the Walk through your participation in the 72-Hour Prayer
Vigil and your presence at Sendoff, Candlelight and Closing. Support
the pilgrim's family by housesitting, baby-sitting, feeding pets, watering
plants, or just checking in with a spouse to see if any help is needed.
For this reason it is best not to sponsor more than one pilgrim or
couple at a time.
- Encourage the pilgrim in his or her Fourth Day involvement. Talk
to them about their weekend experience. Help the pilgrim find or start
a reunion group. Take the pilgrim to the first Gathering after their
Walk. You could even offer to baby-sit so your pilgrim can attend a
- Help the pilgrim re-enter their church and consider ways to act out
new commitment and enthusiasm.
- Inform the pilgrim about ways to serve the Emmaus community on future
Walks, creating agape and writing letters to other pilgrims.
- Help the pilgrim understand how to sponsor others.
WHO CAN SPONSOR?
Any persons who have participated in Emmaus can sponsor another person
to Emmaus so long as they understand the aim and responsibilities of
sponsorship and can fulfill them for the person they would sponsor. Persons
who have participated in Chrysalis can also sponsor adults to Emmaus
under the same conditions.
Sponsors should not serve as team members on Walks with persons they
are sponsoring. If you decide to serve on the team, you should find another
person to serve as sponsor. Sponsors must be able to fulfill the responsibilities
of sponsorship as a priority over serving on the team. Combining the
roles of team member and sponsor in one’s relationship with a pilgrim
diminishes the value of both roles.
WHAT SHOULD I TELL MY PILGRIM?
While a pilgrim may not know what questions to ask, you do not need
to tell them everything that will occur during the three days. However,
keep in mind there are no secrets! Saying to a pilgrim that you can’t
tell them anything about the Walk potentially creates unnecessary suspicion
and anxiety. And for clergy and staff leadership, this posture often
builds a wall of division that results in an “us vs. them” mentality
against the Emmaus community. There is no reason to shroud the event
in secrecy. This practice has probably done more harm to the movement
than people realize. You can share many things about Emmaus without revealing
some of the unique and meaningful experiences such as Candlelight or
agape letters. Here are some suggested items to cover with a pilgrim.
- There are fifteen presentations (five each day) dealing with subjects
like setting priorities, serving God in everyday situations, how to
be a disciple, and how to persevere in faith. Encourage note taking.
- There is time spent in discussing these presentations.
- Time is spent in the chapel meditating and praying.
- Communion is emphasized.
- There is plenty of good food and fellowship.
- Discuss sleeping and showering arrangements with your pilgrim. A
list of suggested items to bring is included with the pilgrim’s
- No contact with family or business is expected except, of course,
- Tell how each weekend is unique, but each person seems to find exactly
what God wants that person to experience. Don’t try to prejudge
what a person’s needs are or what someone will get out of the
Walk to Emmaus. Simply tell your own story. There are no expected results
other than experiencing God’s love.
- ALL parts of the application must be completed and signed. Read the “Sponsor
Information” section of the application carefully and prayerfully
consider your responsibility as a sponsor before signing your name.
Incomplete applications cannot be processed.
- Applications should be mailed or faxed to MWTE Registration by the
sponsor. The sponsor should do all communication with Registration
regarding a pilgrim unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
Sponsorship | Registration
Form | Sponsor
Form | Sample
Agape Letter | Sponsor's