Sponsorship—The Most Important Job A sponsor is one who takes responsibility for another. The suffix “ship” refers to the skill involved in the activity. So sponsorship is the skill of taking responsibility for another. The sponsorship model is found in Luke 24:13-35, the Biblical story upon which Emmaus is founded. We are all familiar with Jesus’ walk to Emmaus with the pilgrims who had just experienced His death and burial. This story tells us that Jesus joined with believers and • re-explained faith, • allowing them to re-experience grace, and • giving them the opportunity to return to Christian community to share their experience.
Sponsorship: • Commitment to invite, guide and support • Represents God working person to person • To recruit strong church leaders—-to strengthen the local church • To create a strong Emmaus/Chrysalis community • The first act of agape before a weekend begins • Undergirds the whole weekend with sacrificial love • Foundation for the Emmaus movement to fulfill its purpose
Responsible sponsorship is our most important job in the Emmaus community. Spiritual Principles of Sponsorship Prayer is the first step in sponsorship. Sponsors need to: • pray for God’s direction about who He wants you to sponsor, • be open to God allowing us to be His instrument in furthering His divine will through Emmaus, and • know that God calls by name those He sends.
The Upper Room Handbook on Emmaus states on page 20: “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.”
Scriptural Support for Sponsorship There are many scriptures other than Luke 24 which support our call to sponsor pilgrims on the Walk to Emmaus. One of these is the passage regarding the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit should result from sponsorship on a Walk. Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) states: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Sponsors may be motivated by the words in Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT): “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.”
“Sponsorship has far-reaching implications. It affects not only the sponsor and the pilgrim. It has a direct bearing on the health of the Emmaus movement and impacts the church affected by the movement.” (The Emmaus Library Sponsorship, page 10) The person you sponsor is the seed you are sowing for the future of Emmaus and for future church leadership. Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:9 (NLT), “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Persevere in doing what is right when it comes to sponsorship, and you will reap an appropriate harvest. Remember that sponsorship offers an opportunity for spiritual revitalization to individual Christians who then serve as vessels of renewal in the church, congregation, home, workplace, and community. Wise sponsorship builds up the body of Christ!
(Background information and excerpts from The Emmaus Library Sponsorship, 2008)
Sponsor Responsibilities Once Pilgrim has Applied The sponsor’s primary responsibility is to pray for the pilgrim throughout the application process, during the Walk and after the Walk. Once the pilgrim is selected and plans to attend the Walk, the sponsor must request personal agape letters for the pilgrim. There should be a minimum of at least 12 letters for the pilgrim.
Shortly before the Walk, offer guidance about what to pack for the Walk. Provide positive encouragement and reassurance. Take your pilgrim to send-off early and assist with check-in. After send-off, remain for sponsor’s hour.
During the Walk spend time in prayer for your pilgrim including being a part of the 72-hour prayer vigil. Check on the pilgrim’s family to provide assistance as necessary. Attend candlelight, delivering the personal agape letters that have not already been turned in.
Attend closing and be responsible for getting your pilgrim home. After the Walk, you are to assist your pilgrim in getting to the “Sustaining the Emmaus Spirit” Meeting and Gathering and in joining a reunion group. You are to help the new Emmaus member learn about Emmaus and the many opportunities to serve in the Emmaus community. You are also to help facilitate the new member’s involvement in the local church. The final responsibility is to teach the new Emmaus member how to be a good sponsor by helping him/her understand the responsibilities of good sponsorship.
(Primarily taken from Sponsorship, 1998, pp. 16-21, from The Emmaus Library)
Sponsor Commitment Statements from Pilgrim Application: Please verify the following statements are true by placing a check on each blank preceding the statement.
______I have attended sponsorship training. ______If applicable, I have discussed the walk with my pilgrim’s spouse and encouraged the spouse to attend the adjacent weekend. ______I am praying for my pilgrim. ______I have explained the Emmaus Walk to my pilgrim. ______I understand that I am to bring my pilgrim to the send-off location on Thursday at 6:00 pm. ______I will accompany my pilgrim to the first gathering following my pilgrim’s walk. ______I will assist my pilgrim in getting established into a reunion group after the walk. ______I understand the importance of minimal contact with my pilgrim during the weekend, especially if the candidate is my spouse.
For Sponsorship Training, contact Jeff Dempsey
What is an Agape Letter? Sample provided here. (This is a MS Word document)