Sponsorship is one of the most important jobs of an Emmaus weekend. Without Sponsorship, there would be no pilgrims and Emmaus weekends would not be held. Sponsorship is vital to the Walk to Emmaus and is a strong commitment that continues far beyond a weekend.
Here are some tips to follow:
Pray. Prayer should be focused on how this pilgrim can strengthen their Christian walk and how their faith will last a lifetime. Continue to pray for and stay close to the prospective Pilgrim to answer any questions or concerns that may arise. Pray before, during and after their weekend.
Be Honest. Feel free to share the entire weekend. Until it is experienced, they will not understand. Explain that there are 15 talks and how they will require hours of sitting and writing. Explain the bunk style housing and cafeteria style food. Explain the long days and ensure that the prospective Pilgrim has the stamina to last the entire 3 days. Explain that phones, laptops and cameras are discouraged.
Willing. The sponsor should be sure the prospective pilgrim is ready to be on a pilgrimage, willing to grow and move forward in their journey of faith. The sponsor should make sure that the pilgrim knows God and agrees that a closer walk will make a difference in their life. If the prospective pilgrim is unsure,do not push, give them time. Continue praying, it may not be the right time, or God has other plans for their journey. Remember, The Walk to Emmaus is not the way to renewal for every Christian.
No Distractions. Most importantly, the sponsor should ensure the prospective pilgrim is not so consumed by other situations (i.e. sickness, children, spouse, other family, etc.) that he or she will not be able to give their full attention to the experience of the Walk to Emmaus during the seventy two hour experience. Be sure your pilgrim has all their medications and comforts needed to get a good night’s rest and essentials for the conference room (i.e. Jacket, back rest, etc.).
Commitment. Be sure YOU are ready for the commitment of sponsoring, it is an act of agape. Help comfort your pilgrim by letting them know you are there for their family while they are away. This includes possibly house-sitting, baby sitting, watering plants, caring for pets, picking up mail, and to be available to spouse not attending. As a sponsor, you commit to bring your pilgrim and to be on time to Send Off, stay for Sponsor’s hour, attend Candlelight and of course come to Closing and ensure your pilgrim is taken home. Remember “No Children” or visitors, that have not attended an Upper Room sanctioned 72 hour event, can be at any Emmaus walk weekend events.
Agape. Once you in send in your pilgrim’s application, start collecting agape letters and letting friends know that he or she is going to attend a Walk to Emmaus, enlisting their prayers. Ensure your pilgrim has 10-12 letters. Remember no personal gifts. But you and your reunion group can make agape to be given out during the weekend. It just takes 72 pieces.
Remember Day Four. After your pilgrim has attended the Walk, don’t forget him or her. Spend some time together helping them digest their experience. Ensure your pilgrim gets into a reunion group and bring your pilgrim to a Gathering. Explain how to sponsor and how to work a team.
A good experience during the Walk to Emmaus can be insured when your pilgrim is fully prepared. Start praying today to sponsor someone tomorrow.