Sponsorship Training is held at 6:00 PM just prior to the Monthly Gathering each month (except December). The training is held in the Chapel at Newark First United Methodist Church.
Because the training includes information about whom you should and should not consider sponsoring on a Walk, community members are encouraged to attend Sponsorship Training *before* extending an invitation to a prospective pilgrim. Also, persons who have not been a sponsor for some time, or who have not recently attended Sponsorship Training are encouraged to attend.
A Total Commitment
Probably the most personal way you can provide agape love is to sponsor someone on their Emmaus experience. Not to be taken lightly, this probably requires about a year-long commitment to that person. 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/Next Days by participating in a reunion or share group. It starts with explaining what Emmaus is about and answering his or her questions.
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. See the 'Other Considerations' below* when considering persons as candidates for Emmaus.
There are booklets available through the Upper Room Emmaus Library series, the primary one of which is 'Sponsorship' by Richard and Janine R. Gilmore.
The New-Ark Area Emmaus Community is strengthened by committed sponsors. The following steps in sponsoring a prospective pilgrim are from the 'Upper Room Handbook on Emmaus.'
- Pray for the person's openness to God's call to discipleship, not for how to get him or her to go on an Emmaus event.
- Make an appointment with the person for the purpose of discussing participation in Emmaus. If the person is married or in a committed relationship and the significant other has not yet attended, SPEAK WITH BOTH PARTNERS at the same time.
- Extend an invitation. Invite the prospective pilgrim(s) to attend for the sake of a more vital relationship with Jesus Christ, not just an event to go to. Take the attitude that you are giving the person(s) a wonderful gift rather than that he or she needs to go.
- Ask the person(s) to make a commitment by filling out the application form. If the person is married or in a committed relationship, encourage an equal commitment by both.
- Continue to pray for your prospective pilgrim(s), prepare agape letters, and enlist the support of their pastor. Collect eight to twelve personal agape letters from persons closest to the pilgrim. Do not try to deliver or ask the team to deliver personal gifts to your pilgrim during the Emmaus event.
- Support the event through your prayers as part of the prayer vigil, and your presence at Send-Off, Sponsors Hour, Candlelight, and Closing (as applicable). Support the pilgrim's family by house-sitting, baby-sitting, watering plants, picking up mail, feeding pets, or just checking in with a spouse to see if any help is needed.
- Encourage the pilgrim in his or her 4th/Next Day involvement. Give your friend an opportunity to talk through the experience. Help the pilgrim find a share group, or be prepared to start a share group with him or her for a period of time until others join the group. Take the pilgrim to Gatherings as your guest for a couple of months - or more.
- Help the pilgrim reenter his or her church and consider ways to act out new commitment and enthusiasm.
- Inform the pilgrim of ways to serve the Emmaus Community and future Emmaus events.
- Help the pilgrim sponsor others.
Enlarge your Sponsorship Toolkit by keeping these ten steps with your 'Sponsorship' or 'Day Four' book so that you can refer to them. Remember, Christ is Counting on Us!
- Only sponsoring persons who are active members of a church
- Waiting to sponsor someone who is experiencing a time of emotional trial (such as a serious health problem, death, or divorce) until these issues are resolved
- Not sponsoring (and not co-sponsoring) a pilgrim on a Walk if you are serving on the conference room team
- Waiting at least six months after your Emmaus experience before sponsoring