My commandment is this:
Love each other as I have loved youJohn 15:12
Sponsoring a Pilgrim
The strength of any Emmaus community is a direct result of the community’s recruiting practices. Emmaus is designed to spiritually renew church members who, in turn, can Christianize their environments. The church is a vital part of this renewal effort. If strong church members are recruited to attend Emmaus Walks, the Emmaus community will provide authentic spiritual renewal. Another overriding purpose of Emmaus is to Christianize environments such as home, business, friendships, and churches. As people consider the reorientation of their priorities, experience the grace of God in a loving community, are wooed by the Holy Spirit to be disciples, and participate in a supportive group following the weekend, they naturally will want to transform the most significant areas of their lives as a result of this new experience of love.Here are several qualities to look for in prospective pilgrims. First, they are already on a pilgrimage, willing to grow and move forward in their journeys of faith. Second, persons should have a Christian orientation-no, a Christian fervor. They know God can make and has made a difference in their lives. Third, prospective pilgrims are not so consumed by other situations that they will not be able to give full attention to the message and experience of The Walk to Emmaus during the seventy-two hour experience and all the follow-up activities.
When you find a prospective pilgrim, follow these suggestions:
Step 1: PRAY.
Focus your prayer on how this person can become a more vitally alive Christian in helping bring God’s kingdom into his or her natural environments rather than on how you can get this person to attend an Emmaus weekend. When you have a focus on God’s call for ministry for this person, then move to the next step.
Step 2: MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.
Casual conversation about your Emmaus experience may help, but if you are serious about asking someone to become a part of the Emmaus community, make an appointment to talk to him or her. If the person is married, pay attention to both husband and wife; do not recruit one person and expect him or her to recruit the spouse. Extend a personal invitation as a means of enriching faith and thus become more effect disciples. Inform each prospective pilgrim that there are many ways to enrich faith but that you have benefited from the Emmaus experience.
Step 3: ISSUE THE INVITATION.
After sharing your own experience, make sure the person knows that your invitation is to a more vitally alive relationship with Jesus Christ, not just to attend a weekend. The three days are part of a whole new way of life. Carefully explain the group reunion, community gatherings, service on board committees, team membership, formation, and renewed interest in serving one’s church. Don’t overwhelm the prospect by making him or her feel that the invitation is to full-time ministry, even though, in a sense, that is the invitation. Help the person understand that with God’s love and grace, every aspect of life will change for the better.
Step 4: ENCOURAGE THE COMMITMENT.
Take a registration form withh you and ask the prospective pilgrim to fill it out in your presence so you can answer any questions. If the person is married, get an application from the spouse at the same time. Then complete the back of the form (or the 2nd page) and mail it to the registrar, along with the registration fee.
Step 5: CONTINUE TO PREPARE.
You’re not finished–just beginning. Continue to pray for and stay close to the person to answer any questions that may arise. Start collecting agape letters and letting friends know that he or she is going to attend a Walk to Emmaus, enlisting their prayers. If the person’s pastor has not attended a Walk, you will want to explain The Walk to Emmaus to the pastor and enlist support and prayers for your pilgrim. Help the pastor start visualizing how this spiritually renewed person can better serve in the ministry of the church.
step 6: HANDLE THE PILGRIM’S WEEKEND RESPONSIBILITIES.
If the person has a family, attend to the members during the weekend. The team will take care of your pilgrim. Continue to pray and attend Send-Off, Sponsor’s Hour, Candlelight, and Closing, but at other times give the pilgrim space to make his or her own Walk.
Step 7: REMEMBER DAY FOUR.
After somone has attend a Walk, don’t forget him or her. Spend some time together, helping the pilgrim digest the experience. Give direction to the pilgrim’s newfound enthusiasm about being a disciple. Help the pilgrim take those first new steps of discipleship in the right direction so that no one becomes alienated from the person or from The Walk to Emmaus. Bring the pilgrim to the first Emmaus Gathering following the Walk and help your friend join a reunion group. If you are not currently in a reunion group, go along.
Step 8: GO BACK TO THE CHURCH.
Make sure the person returns to church with an enthusiastic, supportive attitude. Directing this new enthusiasm requires sensitivity.
Step 9: UNDERSTAND EMMAUS.
Help the person understand how he or she can serve the Emmaus community. Talk about signing up for the Prayer Vigil, serving in the kitchen, volunteering agape for the tables and for snacks, serving on board committees, and serving on teams. APPLICATION Entry into serving on emmaus teams is through the servants’ entrance.
Step 10: HELP THE PILGRIM SPONSOR SOMEONE ELSE.
When pilgrims you have sponsored consider recruiting someone for The Walk to Emmaus, they will probably recruit the same way in which they were recruited. help them discern which people would respond to a weekend of love and thus become more vitally alive disciples in their homes, communities, vocations, and churches. Help them with all ten steps the first time through.