A Total Commitment
One of the most personal ways you can provide agape love is to sponsor someone on their Emmaus experience. A sponsor is a person who has been through an Emmaus (or similar) experience, is willing to share that experience with prospective participant and is active in their 4th Day by participating in a reunion group.
The candidate should already be on a pilgrimage, willing to grow and move forward in his/her journey of faith. They know that God has made a difference in their life and must be able to clear their plate to give full attention to the spiritual renewal experience for its duration, including the event’s follow-up activities.
Sponsors must review, and commit to, all guidelines below.
Emmaus Sponsor Guidelines
Here is a summary from the Emmaus Library Series’ ‘Sponsorship’ book on the “Responsibilities of the Sponsor”:
- Pray for discernment. The Sponsor’s first responsibility is to pray for discernment. Take a list of names into your prayer room and share that list with God. Leave the list with God and wait for Him to reveal the name to you. It may not happen immediately. Just be patient and wait on God.
- Pray for your pilgrim. Pray for when to discuss the walk with your potential pilgrim. Pray for God to guide you in the discussion. Pray for an openness of the potential Pilgrim’s heart for the Walk to Emmaus.
- Meet with your pilgrim to summarize the info in Step One. Pray for God to give you calmness, assurance, and perseverance. If your Pilgrim is married, it’s best to meet with both partners to discuss the Walk to Emmaus. The design of the Emmaus movement is to affirm the sanctity of marriage and commitment of spouses to each other. Presenting the information to both partners may preclude misunderstandings and lessen divisiveness. Share important aspects about the walk such as…
- Tell when, where, and the time and length of the walk.
- This is a Christian Renewal Retreat with approximately 35 women/men from different walks of life who are strangers, but who will become a close-knit Community.
- The Pilgrim will experience the unconditional love of Jesus, which binds us all together.
- The Pilgrims will experience strong Christian fellowship with support and reinforcement in their Emmaus Walk experience.
- The Walk to Emmaus experience doesn’t end Sunday evening. It can continue your Spiritual growth and renewal if you become involved in a Reunion Group.
- Give your potential Pilgrim the application questions in Step Two. Explain everything on the form in a face to face meeting if possible. Answer questions. Request that the Potential Pilgrim prayerfully consider the opportunity to attend the Emmaus event. Ask the potential Pilgrim when you can check back for their response. Pray for the person. Don’t take a refusal personally. It may not be God’s timing or Emmaus may not be for this particular person.
- Submit the on-line application to sponsor a pilgrim. Collect their answers on the application questions, and make sure that everything is filled out correctly. Check their answers to see if the Pilgrim has any critical needs that you need answered before you submit the on-line application. Reach out to the Registrar at email@example.com with any hesitation you may have about the pilgrim’s diet, medication, sleeping needs, etc. Fill in the Sponsorship online form (in Step Three) with both your information as sponsor – and – the pilgrim’s information that was returned to you, and submit the on-line application form right away. Good sponsorship takes time, so try to do this before the first team meeting if possible, but our usual deadline is by the second team meeting.
- The Pilgrim Registrar will inform the Sponsor when the Pilgrim is accepted. After you hear back from the Registrar that you pilgrim has been accepted, inform your Pilgrim of the good news, and remind that person to reserve the dates for the 72- hour experience by marking their calendar as a reminder. The Registrar will also tell you how the fee is to sponsor a pilgrim. Send that in asap.
- Send out request letters for personal agape letters to be mailed to you. This may require some personal sleuthing on your part, so that your Pilgrim doesn’t find out what you’re doing. Begin with the emergency contact information on the forms. You should try to collect about 10 personal letters or so.
- Contact your Pilgrim two weeks prior to their weekend and offer guidance on what to pack. Provide encouragement and reassurance, which will help them prepare for the Emmaus experience. Check on child care needs, and support needs for the spouse.
- Pray for your Pilgrim. Obstacles tend to present themselves as the weekend approaches. They will need your prayers of protection.
- Take your Pilgrim to the Walk and assist with check-in. It’s best to take them out to dinner near the walk location to ensure you can also get to the walk at the right time. Remain with them until the call-out. Sponsors’ Hour is where you will pray over your Pilgrim’s cross. This will happen directly after the call-out, when all of the Pilgrims and team members have left to begin their weekend.
- Pray for your Pilgrim. It’s a good idea to sign the 72-hour prayer vigil. It’s very special for the Pilgrim when they see your name on that chart, too.
- Check on your Pilgrim’s family and see if they need anything. You might take them a meal or have them over for supper on Friday night. If your Pilgrim lives alone, you may need to feed a pet or water plants, pick up the mail, or take out the trash. These are all acts of agape love and servanthood.
- Attend Saturday Community and Candlelight Service. Your attendance at the candlelight will be very meaningful. (Young children are not invited for Saturday night.)
- Attend Closing and provide transportation home for your Pilgrim. Your attendance at closing will encourage your Pilgrim when they give their thoughts on the weekend’s experience. It will also give you a glimpse of their experience. You are their transportation and personal assistant in moving out.
- Take the new Emmaus member to a 4th Day Gathering and introduce them to the community. It is very important to get the new Emmaus Community Member involved in a reunion group. Help the new member learn about Emmaus and the many ways in which they can serve in the community and on a Walk. Teach your pilgrim how to be a good sponsor, or take them to an Emmaus Sponsorship training session.
- Follow up with them to assist them to get into a reunion group or other small group for accountability.
The Grace Emmaus Community is strengthened by trained, committed sponsors. Add these steps to your Sponsorship ‘toolkit’ so that you can refer to them and put them into practice. Remember, Christ is Counting on Us!
Grace Emmaus Specific Rules
These rules describe how lists, fees, and waiting lists will be handled.
- Maximum number of pilgrims accepted per walk: between 20 and 24 depending on the size of our church site.
- Priority for acceptance: Pilgrims will be accepted on a “first come, first served” basis and will be ranked from 1 to the maximum number (about 20 to 24) in the order the requests are received by the Pilgrim Registrar. No other priority or ranking system shall be used. It must be clear that a pilgrim will only be placed on the list when all appropriate sponsorship paperwork (an on-line form seen in Step Two) is filed with the Pilgrim Registrar and fees paid. Verbal requests are unofficial and will have no bearing on the list. No other person, including a Lay Director, has the authority to verbally accept a sponsor’s request or to officially accept sponsorship paperwork.
- Waiting List Protocol: The Board of Directors and Registrar have rules for waiting lists once the Walk is full. Please contact the registrar to see those “first come, first serve” rules.
- Acceptance of pilgrims whose significant other will not attend the walk. It is preferred that those in committed relationships attend the same set of walks. Certainly “single” pilgrims without a significant other will be accepted to attend the walk without prejudice. Also there may be situations that arise where one individual in a relationship will attend a walk alone. These situations will be evaluated by the Pilgrim Registrar on a case by case basis. The Pilgrim registrar will counsel with the potential pilgrims sponsor to determine the nature of the situation and the best course of action. Situations that would be appropriate for an individual to attend alone include: the other individual is physically or emotionally unable to attend the walk, the other individual is not a Christian, or the other individual has emphatically indicated they will never attend the walk. Certainly other situations may arise and these cases will be at the discretion of the Pilgrim Registrar and the executives of the Grace Emmaus Board. If the situation is simply that the other individual is not “ready” to attend the walk, the couple should be encouraged to attend a future walk when both will be willing to attend. The potential pilgrims sponsor will be responsible for communicating with the potential pilgrim regarding these matters.
- Paying of Fees. As stated above registration of a pilgrim or potential pilgrim will only be official once the appropriate online form is filed with the Pilgrim Registrar and the appropriate fees are paid. The form will only be accepted by the Pilgrim Registrar if the forms are filled out correctly, include all appropriate signatures, and payment for the appropriate fees is submitted to the registrar. Paying the fees in full is strongly recommended but is not mandatory, especially for those with financial hardship. In such situations when some or all of the fees will not be paid, a brief comment to this affect should be included with the paper-work to avoid prejudice for not paying the fees. Once the paperwork is filed correctly and accepted, the Pilgrim Registrar will inform the sponsor if the pilgrim has been accepted to the official list or the official waiting list and will also inform the sponsor of the Pilgrims position on the list.
- Persons with disabilities or medical conditions. It is intended that all who wish to come to the walk are invited to attend. However, situations may arise where a physical or emotional disability or a serious medical condition may limit a person’s ability to participate in or complete the walk. It is mandatory that the Sponsor include medical notes in the application form. In certain cases there may also be issues of liability for the Grace Emmaus Community or the facility hosting the walk. In these circumstances whether the potential Pilgrim will be allowed to attend the walk will be evaluated, on a case by case basis, by the Pilgrim Registrar, the potential Pilgrim’s sponsor and the executives of the Grace Emmaus Board.
(Per Grace Emmaus of Silicon Valley Guidelines for Pilgrim Acceptance 11/16/11 Rev 1.3)
Next, you will use step 2 to ask your pilgrim for their information. Go to step 2.