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.
First Watch This Video
Please watch our Sponsor video (above). It describes sponsorship in details per the steps below, and as listed in the Emmaus guidebook. This video was produced by our own Grace Emmaus Community via the Board’s strategic brainstorm team on sponsorship. Please enable your audio speakers to hear it.
Second, Understand These Sponsor Guidelines
Here are the “Responsibilities of the Sponsor” (National Walk To Emmaus guidebook on sponsorship)
- Pray for discernment on WHO to sponsor. 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. Be aware of purposeful sponsorship (people ready to enter Emmaus) and questionable sponsorship (people not ready). The, 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 inform them about Emmaus. 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.
- Extend the invitation. After they know about what Emmaus is all about, the invitation to them is a proposal from you to deepen your friendship with the objective to grow in grace. Meet in person, maybe over lunch or coffee.
- Seek a commitment. Don’t be afraid to ask for a firm yes or no. Remember a ‘no’ is ok, but it just means it is not yet God’s timing.
- Give them the application questions. 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. If you have any questions before you fill in the on-line registration, you can ask questions to the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- Registration Costs for each Pilgrim: The Sponsor needs to pay the registration fee after your pilgrim is accepted by the Registrar. The cost is $35 if your registration form is submitted before the second (2nd) Team Meeting. It is $45 after that for a late registration. Send that in asap to the address in the letter your Registrar sends to you, or, pay by credit card at the team meeting prior to the walk. Remember the deadline to register pilgrims is the Second Team Meeting which happens about one month before the walk.
- Gather Agape Letters. 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 no more than 10 personal letters or so. Send individual emails, don’t send out an impersonal ’email blast’ to a large list. It may take you weeks and weeks to get just the right letters.
- Provide detailed information. Contact your Pilgrim two weeks prior to their weekend and offer guidance on what to pack, help them with bedding needs, and discuss what NOT to bring. Provide encouragement and reassurance, which will help them prepare for the Emmaus experience.
- Make sacrifices. Check on how you can help with family needs, child care needs, substitute Sunday School teaching, mow the lawn, and other support needs . Pray for your Pilgrim. Obstacles tend to present themselves as the weekend approaches. They will need your prayers of protection.
- Support the Three Day Weekend.
- Take your Pilgrim to dinner before the Walk nearby the retreat, then 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.
- Attend sponsor’s hour, on-site, at the beginning of the walk
- Sign up for the prayer vigil. 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.
- Encourage 4th Day Involvement in Emmaus. Many find that working a walk gives more blessings than attending one.
- Take the new Emmaus member to a 4th Day Gathering. You must invite them to this, just as you invited them to the walk. Ride together.
- Connect them to our 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 and encourage them to get into a reunion group or other small group for accountability.
- Help them focus their early enthusiasm into how they might sponsor someone to attend.
- Assist them to find a church if they don’t have one.
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 are our ‘Grace Emmaus Specific Rules’:
- Number of pilgrims accepted per walk: between 10 and 20 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 (cannot exceed 24 depending on facilities) 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. (Cost is $35 for registration before the 2nd Team Meeting, and $45 for late registration after that.) 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 or treasurer. Payment by credit card is now available at the Team Meetings. 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)
Ready for Step Two or Do You Have Questions?
Step 2 is copying/printing questions to ask of your pilgrim.
If you are not ready yet, and have a question for us about sponsorship, please use the form below.