The Upper Room requires that all pilgrims to the Walk to Emmaus be sponsored. Sponsors ideally know their pilgrim well and are willing to invest time and prayer in the sponsoring effort. To be a good sponsor you need to be trained. The Lansing Area Emmaus Communitybelieves that good sponsoring is so important that we require each sponsor to have up to date training within the last two years in order to sponsor a pilgrim.
Sponsorship training is held after most gatherings and in conjunction with Candlelight and/or Closing. To stress the importance of good sponsorship the following is taken from the Emmaus Handbook.
“Most communities take sponsorship for granted; they assume that everyone knows the how and why of sponsorship. Unfortunately, often sponsorship is not discussed except in reference to the number of pilgrims signed up for a Walk or to conflict over an issue in the husband/wife rule. Yet sponsorship is the most important job in Emmaus. It is more than “signing up people.” The importance of an Emmaus community’s being educated about the value of good sponsorship cannot be overemphasized. The quality of sponsorship influences the pilgrim, the health of the Emmaus movement, and the church affected by the movements.
First, good sponsorship is the first act of agape before a Walk every begins; the experience of the Walk for a pilgrim really begins with how we handle sponsorship.
Second, good sponsorship undergirds the whole weekend with sacrificial love on behalf of each pilgrim. Sponsors use discernment in recruiting pilgrims, embody the personal commitment of the community to each pilgrim, and provide personal acts of agape during the three days for the pilgrims. These acts of agape include prayer, agape letters, presence at Candlelight and Closing, and follow-up.
Third, good sponsorship is the foundation for a healthy, effective Emmaus movement that is fulfilling its true purpose; the development of Christian leaders and the renewal of the church in ministry. Wood and Roy write in Day Four: The Pilgrim’s Continued Journey, “The strength of any Emmaus Community is a direct result of that community’s recruiting practices. If the community is committed to recruiting strong church leaders for the purpose of strengthening the local church, then the community will be a strong vital force in the renewal movement.”