Genuine sponsorship begins with prayer. Pray about sponsoring a specific person before inviting him or her to attend a Walk. The first thing a sponsor should consider is the prospective pilgrim. Do not sponsor pilgrims you do not know or with whom you have not discussed the Walk to Emmaus before inviting him or her to attend. The Walk to Emmaus is designed to develop strong Christian leaders within a church congregation. Prospective pilgrims should:
- Have a commitment to a growing relationship with God and a willingness to grow and move forward in their personal journey of faith. The person should be a Christian.
- Be a current church member (ideally) and have a Christian fervor!
- Have a desire to rekindle God's grace in his/her life and desire to have a spiritual experience that helps renew commitment to a fuller relationship with God.
It is recommended that the pilgrim not be in the midst of emotional or spiritual crisis in his or her life. This may not be a good time for him/her to focus on God's message during a walk weekend. Other issues that should be considered and prayed about include:
- The Walk to Emmaus is not for non-Christians, or for those persons needing to defend unique beliefs outside the Christian faith.
- The Walk to Emmaus is not designed for those persons with restrictions or specific celebrations that Emmaus cannot provide.
- The Walk to Emmaus is not intended to convince prospective pilgrims they need to attend church.
Once you have prayed about sponsoring someone on the Walk to Emmaus, please sit down with that person and explain how this experience has affected your walk with God, and tell them what they may expect. Keep in mind there are parts of the Walk to Emmaus that are very personal and should be experienced with God as they happen. Answer any questions they may have - remember, Emmaus is not a cult or secret society. Send them to the Mountain Top Emmaus website to look around and stay in contact with your pilgrim before the walk.
Once you have talked with your prospective pilgrim, direct them to the website again and instruct them to fill out the online application if they are interested in attending. Assure them the information they provide is not going to be shared with others, but better helps us meet their needs during the weekend. In our community, it is an agape gift of the sponsor to pay for the pilgrim's fee to attend a walk. If this is a hardship, please contact the registrar as scholarships are available.
Also remember that once someone's application is submitted, space may not be available on the next walk; there may be a waiting list. Registration deadline for each walk is 2 weeks prior to send off. Both you and your pilgrim will receive an email within 4 weeks of the walk that has space for your pilgrim. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received. In some cases, your pilgrim may ask to be moved to the next available Walk because of unforeseen conflicts or illness. Please contact the registrar as soon as you know your pilgrim cannot attend his or her scheduled Walk. A pilgrim may be moved to a subsequent walk two times, and then the application is removed from the files. Registration deposits cannot be transferred from one pilgrim to another.
As a sponsor, you should stay in contact with your pilgrim before the walk to answer questions. And, most importantly, pray, pray, pray.
It is very important that you make sure a pilgrim's family is taken care of during his or her walk weekend. Touch base with family members to see what needs you can help with. As a sponsor, you also make a commitment to bring your pilgrim to Send Off on Thursday night (and traditionally take your pilgrim to dinner beforehand), to come to Closing on Sunday (and take your pilgrim home), and to attend Follow Up with your pilgrim the next weekend.
Let your pilgrim know about reunion groups (listed on this website), or help your pilgrim start a group of his/her own. If you would like your new group to be made available to the community, contact the registrar with your reunion group information to add to the list.
The sponsor application is below.