Sponsorship is the act of revisiting The Walk to Emmaus with a person whom God has laid upon your heart. We are called to pray and work to strengthen and renew our brothers and sisters, our church, our community, and, ultimately, our world. As sponsors we need to follow the scriptural principles of being open to God in prayer and then calling people by name to attend The Walk to Emmaus. Remember, the Walk is not for everyone and that those you invite may not be ready to accept the gift. Be certain that the individual you invite is right for Emmaus and that Emmaus is right for that individual. The Walk to Emmaus should not be viewed as a hospital to cure spiritual ills, but as the next step in strengthening the spiritual walk of our brothers and sisters in Christ. As stated in the Upper Room handbook on Emmaus: "The personal character of sponsorship underlines the personal care and commitment of God to each Pilgrim." The fact that the Emmaus experience is passed on from person to person reflects the relational nature of God and the manner in which God reaches out to people, through people.
Prayer is the first, and most important, step in sponsorship. At this time we commit the process to God. As Jesus exemplified while praying in the garden (Matt. 6:41-42), we too must put ourselves in the position of allowing God to work through us. As we spend time in prayer, we need to empty ourselves of self so that we can become filled with God's instruction, God's timing, and God's person for us to sponsor. Our openness to God enables us to become God's instruments in furthering divine will through The Walk to Emmaus. Time and time again the scriptures admonish us to listen to God and God's instructions (Psa. 78:1; Isa. 28:3; Jer. 11:7). In the Gospels, we find Jesus admonishing us to listen: "Let anyone with ears listen!" (Matt. 13:9) Our openness to God allows us to receive God's instruction -- even when the instruction does not conform to our expectations. (Jer. 42:6) Our openness to God sensitizes us as to how God wants us to use the gifts he has given us to renew and revitalize the church using all the aspects (sponsorship included) of the Emmaus experience. Sponsorship offers an opportunity for spiritual revitalization to individual Christians who then serve as vessels of renewal in the home, church congregation, workplace and community. Wise sponsorship builds up the body of Christ.
Once you have prayed about whom you might sponsor, talk and pray with that person about making the decision to go on an Emmaus Walk. Please be sure to share the information contained in the Emmaus brochure (available from the Upper Room or it can be downloaded from the Emmaus Website) with them that will help them understand the purpose of the Emmaus Walk program: a spiritual renewal weekend that will enhance where they are in their spiritual journey. Answer any questions they may have in regard to their attending a Walk To Emmaus, remembering that there are NO secrets to Emmaus just beautiful surprises. Provide any help necessary in filling out and signing the application, ensuring that any special needs are noted: i.e., medical, diet, prescriptions, etc., and fill out your portion of the application. This is most helpful to the Team that will be working their Walk. Ensure a check for the deposit is made out to CAEC and is enclosed with the application when it is sent to the registrar. The address is at the top of the application.
Keep in contact and prayer with and for your candidate during the waiting period. When you receive the sponsor letter contact your candidate to ensure that they have filled out and returned the acceptance postcard included in their letter of invitation, ensuring that any health changes that occurred during the waiting period are passed on to the registrar. If the candidate, for any valid reason, needs to roll to the next available Walk, have them indicate that on the postcard. The return of the postcard is very important. God's timing is perfect and your candidate will attend the Walk that they are supposed to attend.
Support your candidate in whatever decision they make, be an encourager. If your candidate is able to accept at the time of invitation then follow the directions in your sponsorship letter and start to prepare early for serving in this capacity. Make arrangements to help and support your candidate's family. This will ease their apprehensions about their family member attending the Walk, especially if no one in their family has been to Emmaus before. Remind the candidate that the balance owed will be required when they arrive at camp. Arrange for a pickup time for your pilgrim on Wednesday evening allowing enough time for dinner before arriving at Camp Alamisco by 6:30PM.
When you arrive, check in and receive their room assignment and nametag and escort your candidate to the dining hall. Look for your candidate's roommate and introduce them, if possible. This makes for a more comfortable first evening. Find a seat with your candidate and remain seated until your candidate's name has been called and the entire team leaves for the conference room. At that point, please move to the indoor chapel at the top of the hill, for Sponsors Hour. There you will pray for your pilgrim by name and hang their cross on the larger cross that will be placed in the Speaker's Prayer Chapel for the weekend. Please remain until Sponsors Hour is complete. Leave the chapel quietly and do not return down the hill to the conference room, or to your pilgrims room. The Walk To Emmaus has begun.
Please remember to stay in prayer for your pilgrim and return Friday evening for the Candlelight service, Saturday morning for Serenade, and Saturday for Closing.
If you become unable to fulfill your obligations as sponsor in any way be sure to find a willing person to fill in for you. This is a must!
Now you have guidelines for committed sponsorship, please follow them. Give your pilgrim to God in prayer--Blessings are just ahead.
Central Alabama Emmaus Community