“Serving and Sponsoring are more rewarding than attending….if that’s even possible”


Emmaus Community members want to share the gift of their Emmaus Ministries experience with others and sponsorship provides them a caring, disciplined way to do so, enabling God’s gift of grace to be passed on through the Emmaus movements.  The fact that the Emmaus experience passes from person to person reflects the relational nature of God and the manner to which God purposefully reaches out to people through people.  The personal character of sponsorship underlines God’s personal care and commitment to each participant.  Sponsors help make the Emmaus experience an act of sacrificial love from beginning to end – something more than the usual church retreat or religious education function.

Good sponsorship is the very reason healthy Communities rarely cancel events for lack of participants.  Good sponsorship is vital to the Emmaus ministries movement in every community therefore, Emmaus communities continually educate their members on the role and importance of good sponsorship.

The Walk to Emmaus and Chrysalis ministries use the sponsorship model while Face to Face employ a recruitment model led by the host or sponsoring organization.  Although Face to Face does not require sponsors, Emmaus Ministries Communities encourage members, when appropriate, to extend invitations to persons to participate in the event and to support participants of the event in ways similar to those of a sponsor. In this way, the person-to-person, relational nature of sharing the Emmaus experience may extend to this ministry as well.


Sponsorship is the most important job in Emmaus Ministries and all members are to take responsibility for this area of ministry.  It involves more than simply signing up people. This ministry cannot be overemphasized. The quality of sponsorship influences the participants, the health of the Emmaus movement and the churches affected by the movement.

  1. Good sponsorship requires discernment in inviting or recruiting participants.
  2. Good sponsorship is the first act of agape love before the event begins.
  3. Good sponsorship undergirds the Emmaus Ministries event with sacrificial love on behalf of each participant.  Sponsors embody the personal commitment of the Community to each participant and provide personal acts of agape during the event for the participants.
  4. Good sponsorship offers a strong link to the participants’ Fourth Day experience after each event.  Sponsors stand ready to answer participants’ questions, be faithful friends and provide perspective.  Sponsors guide participants to reunion groups and help them sponsor others to attend an Emmaus Ministries event.
  5. Good sponsorship grounds a healthy, effective Emmaus movement that fulfills its true purpose – continued faith formation of the participants, the development of Christian leaders and the renewal of the church in ministry.

A sponsor does not air to “get all my friends to go,” to fill up events, to fix people’s problems or to reproduce his or her religious experience in others.  Rather, the sponsor aims to bring spiritual revitalization to Christians who, in turn, will bring new life and visions to the work of the church in their congregations, homes, schools, workplaces and Communities.

Sponsorship supports the church’s efforts to help Christians, young and old alike, grow spiritually – to build up the body of Christ.  Sponsors need to evaluate their motive for sponsoring to ensure its consistency with this aim.

For Chrysalis, additional hopes and prayers for young persons can motivate sponsorship.  These include giving young persons the gift of time apart,

  1. To experience the accepting and healing grace of God through Christian community.
  2. To realize that they are precious to God and are on this earth for a holy purpose.
  3. To discuss with nonjudgmental peers and mature Christian adults their questions and struggles as young persons.
  4. To hear anew the gospel of God’s love in Jesus Christ and the basics of Christian faith and life.
  5. To make friends with other youth who share the faith and will support one another in living as Christians.
  6. To develop relationships with mature Christian adults, relationships that might extend beyond the three days.
  7. To strengthen their decision to follow Jesus.
  8. To better prepare themselves to live as Christian witnesses in home, school, church and community.
  9. To learn what goes into building their lives and relationships on a solid foundation.
  10. To bring new vitality to the church youth group upon returning.
  11. To inspire the sponsorship of other youth.
  12. To energize the body of Christ through young people whose hearts are on fire with the love of Christ.

Emmaus Ministries include spiritual formation and renewal programs for several life stages, which does not necessarily translate well to a specific age.  A good sponsor considers the suitability of the ministry program for the life stage of the prospective participant.

  1. Chrysalis is for young persons, 16 to 22 years old. These years are a critical time in a person’s spiritual formation. Chrysalis is meaningful to young people who are ready to think about and discuss the realities and struggles of life on a more adult level -What am I going to do with my life? What kind of person do I want to become? What do I believe? What kind of relationships are lasting and most meaningful? What does it mean to live as a Christian and how can I do it? Developmentally ready young people will gain immensely more from Chrysalis when in tune with the life experiences of the other youth participants.  Sponsoring participants who are too young can sometimes detract from the value of the three days for the age group for which chrysalis is intended.
  2. Walk to Emmaus is for adults eighteen years and older who are more established in a local church.  Walk to Emmaus seeks to inspire, challenge, and equip adult leaders for Christian action in their homes, places of work and communities.
  3. Face to Face is an experience in the tradition of The Walk to Emmaus designed specifically. For seniors, sixty years and older.  The Walk to Emmaus model is adjusted to accommodate ages and physical circumstances of the Face to Face audience.  The life stage of senior constituents, their life settings and their stamina dictate these adjustments.  While most of The Walk to Emmaus talks are part of Face to Face, the ministry has added content meaningful to seniors.

    Community members’ awareness and commitment to the purpose of Emmaus influences whom they chose to sponsor and how they sponsor.

    The Walk to Emmaus is for active Christians and church members whose personal renewal will bring fresh energy, commitment, and vision to the church and everyday environments for Christ’s sake.  Those sponsored could include the following –

    1.  Church leaders (pastors and laypersons) who will bring new visions, commitment and understanding to their congregations and who need the renewal and grace that Emmaus channels.
    2. Dependable church members who serve as the quiet backbone of the church.
    3. Less active members who need their awareness of grace rekindled and their commitments renewed.
    4. Christians who hunger for “something more” and who want to grow spiritually.
    5. Members and leaders who represent a cross-section of the church and will help Emmaus remain theologically sound, centered on the essentials of common faith and open to different perspectives.
    6. Other respected laypersons and clergypersons whose participation, support and leadership will encourage others to attend an Emmaus Ministries event and will build a sound, balanced leadership base for the movement in the community.
    7. Members of diverse congregations, denominations, and ethnic groups.

    Young adults who previously attended a Chrysalis event and possibly have served on other Chrysalis events or activities, may express a desire to attend a Walk to Emmaus event.  If they have not already served on a Walk to Emmaus Conference Room Team, they may be sponsored to attend a Walk to Emmaus event.

    For Chrysalis, consider the following as likely candidates-

    1.  Young people who already attend church and youth groups.  Chrysalis is designed for young people who are actively involved in their churches.  Youth pastors and adult leaders of youth, as well as key leaders in the youth program, can identify youth who are ready to grow by attending an event like Chrysalis.  Sponsoring active church youth benefits the youth and the church.  Chrysalis reinforces and vitalizes the faith-formation experiences that the church provides for young people.  Chrysalis supplements the church’s efforts to provide Christian formation opportunities. Church related young people are the backbone of the program. Young people who are not connected with a church seldom follow through in supporting Chrysalis after the three days.
    2. Leaders in the church youth group. Youth with leadership abilities will bring infectious energy and vision to their church groups.  Their testimony will convince others of the value of participating.  Intentional sponsorship of youth leaders will pay off for everyone.
    3. Mature youth.  When leaders participate and find the experience meaningful, others want to do likewise.  Chrysalis builds upon their natural leadership abilities and calls them to be a positive Christian influence.
    4. Youth with fledgling faith or limited Christian background.  Chrysalis can focus the Christian message for such youth and give them an opportunity to respond to the gospel, perhaps for the first time.  But Chrysalis is appropriate for them only when they genuinely desire to know more about Christ and the life of faith.
    5. Church youth with no involvement in the youth group activities.  Chrysalis can help them connect with the other youth and may offer the solid experience they seek.  But again, they should not be sponsored unless they desire to learn more about the Christian faith.
    6. Youth of various races, economic backgrounds, and churches.  In Chrysalis, young people come to see that they are one in Christ and that their true identity transcends ethnic, cultural, denominational, and economic differences.  Breaking out of a closed circle of friends and associations and sponsoring people from various backgrounds enhances the Chrysalis experience and spreads Chrysalis to new friendships networks.
    7. Friends from school or elsewhere who are not part of the church but who show evidence of a desire to meet Christ and to grow spiritually.  Sponsors of these young people commit to helping them establish a relationship with their churches and youth groups before and especially after Chrysalis.

    An Emmaus Ministries even is right for many people – but not for everyone.

    The religious background or emotional condition of some people may make Emmaus and unwise discipleship tool for them.  Other persons may lack suitability for sponsorship to an Emmaus Ministries event because of the negative effect they might have on the event or the divisive influence they could bring to the church.  Sponsorship requires sensitivity to these factors.  Some examples of questionable sponsorship are –  

    1. Non-Christians or persons with no interest in the Christian faith or the church.
    2. Christians whose theology and/or practice notable differs from the traditional theology and practice represented by Emmaus.  This includes Christians who have specific dietary restrictions and sabbath celebrations that the Emmaus experience cannot provide, members of groups who will feel a need to defend the uniqueness of their beliefs throughout the event, and persons who do not share belief in traditional doctrines of the faith basic to major denominations of the church and to Emmaus Ministries.
    3. Persons undergoing an emotional crisis (family breakup, job loss, severe grief) or who are psychologically unstable.
    4. Persons whose behavior pattern is to disrupt.  Sponsors require assurance that the people they sponsor want to attend for the right reasons.  Young people who attend Chrysalis need enough maturity to behave appropriately and to cooperate with the flow of the entire event.  Otherwise, they will hinder the experience for everyone else.  Chrysalis teams are not equipped to deal with major discipline problems nor is Chrysalis designed to “fix” chronic behavior problems.
    5. Persons whose family members do not want them to participate. Sponsors do not allow the Emmaus experience to become a point of division between a person and his or her spouse, or between a young person and his or her parent(s).
    6. Persons who decide not to attend an Emmaus Ministries event after being presented the opportunity.  A potential sponsor need not feel like a failure if a prospect says no. Perhaps the timing in not rights.  Perhaps God will renew the person in another way.  Remember, the Emmaus experience is not every Christian’s way to renewal.
    7. “Church-hoppers”, members who frequently have an axe to grind with the church.  Persons who will use Emmaus as a tool to divide the body, to further their own theological agendas, or who will create an “Emmaus Church.”

    Wise sponsorship is purposeful and prayerful.

    Wise sponsorship eventually will produce a balanced, theologically centered movement of the Holy Spirit, which is integrated into the life f the church in the community, and which is honored by a variety of churches as an effective instrument for conveying God’s grace, the call to committed discipleship, and our unity in Christ.

    Unwise sponsorship is haphazard and undiscerning.

    Unwise sponsorship eventually will produce a harvest that becomes more a burden than a blessing for the church. A movement that has become a religious fringe group or a parachurch apart from the established church in the community.  At best, such groups benefit the individuals involved, having no impact upon or relationship with the churches in the community, thus forfeiting the purpose of the Emmaus movement.  At worst, such groups benefit themselves at the expense of the church, breeding division instead of unity within the body of Christ and intolerance instead of tolerance among Christians of different religious expressions.

    1.  PRAY! PRAY! Then pray some more!
    2. Discern whom God wants you to sponsor. Pray about those persons you would like to sponsor and others whom God would lead you to sponsor. For Chrysalis, work with another sponsor to prayerfully consider sponsoring more than one young person from a church so that they will have friends with whom to share the event and its follow-up.
    3. Continue to spend time in prayer.  Pray for the person’s openness to God’s call to discipleship rather than how to persuade him or her to attend an Emmaus event.  Trust God to motivate the persons brought to mind.
    4. Make an appointment.  Discuss with potential candidates the purpose and benefits of Emmaus, what you experienced as benefits, some positive aspects of the event, and the follow-up dimension.  Forth the Walks to Emmaus, if the candidate is married, include both spouses when making the appointment and in the follow-up discussion. 
    5. For Chrysalis, also make an appointment with the candidate’s parents or guardians to share in depth the basic elements and value of Chrysalis and to alleviate any concerns they may have.
    6. Extend an invitation and seek a commitment.  Invite the candidate to attend for the  sake of a more vital relationship with Jesus Christ.  Convey the offer of a wonderful gift rather than stressing that he or she needs to go.  Explain the cost and ask the prospective candidate to commit by filling out the application form.  If the person is married, speak with both partners and encourage an equal commitment by both.
    7. Make preparations for your candidate.  Continue to pray for your prospective participant end enlist the support of his or her pastor.  Take steps to collect personal agape letters – eight to twelve for a Walk and Encounter and ten to twenty for Chrysalis.  Do not ask the team to deliver personal gifts to your participant from you or anyone else during the event.
    8. Make sacrifices for your candidate.  Plan to handle whatever responsibilities will need attention on behalf of your candidate during the event such as house-sitting, babysitting, watering plants, picking up mail, feeding pets or just checking in with a spouse to see if any help is needed.  Consider tasks you can undertake that will make it possible for the candidate to attend
    9. Support the event during the three days.  Sign up for the 72 hour prayer vigil and be present a sponsor’s hour, candlelight and closing. For Chrysalis, invite the participant’s parents to parents’ meeting, send-off, sponsor’s hour and/or closing, when appropriate.
    10. Encourage the participation in his or her Fourth Day involvement.  Give you friend an opportunity to talk about the three-day experience and what it meant to him or her. Help the participant find a reunion or Next Steps group or be prepared to start a group with him or her for a period of time until others join the group.  Take the participant to Community Gatherings as your guest for a couple of months.  Help, him or her feel included.
    11. Help your participant act on new commitments.  Help the participant reenter his or her church and follow through on fresh hopes and dreams, decisions, and changes he or she feels called by God to make.  For a young person not active in a church, invite him or her to become part of your church and youth group.
    12. Inform the participant of ways to serve the Emmaus Community.  Encourage his or her support of upcoming Emmaus Ministries events through prayer and by serving behind-the-scenes.  Explain and model progressive servanthood so that he or she may work toward serving on a future leadership team.
    13. Help your participant sponsor others.  Offer to assist the first time he or she sponsors someone else.  Explain the responsibilities and expectations of sponsors.  

    Above all, be a model sponsor yourself.

    Sponsorship is an act of love for God, for the participants, for the Emmaus Community and for the Church.  It is a living demonstration of agape love.  Through sponsorship, we become instruments of God’s design and prevenient grace.


    Any person who has participated in an Emmaus ministry or other recognized three-day movement event can sponsor a person to any Emmaus ministry event, as long as he or she understands the aim and responsibilities of sponsorship and can fulfill them for the person he or she would sponsor.

    1.  For Chrysalis, it is important that the sponsor be someone the potential participant knows and looks up to, when this is the case, a young person will more likely attend Chrysalis and stay involved.
    2. Church leaders such a pastors and ministry directors make excellent sponsors because they know the persons who are ready to make the most of their Emmaus Ministries event and will strengthen the church by their participation.
    3. In many cases, the best sponsors are people who have attended an Emmaus Ministries event and want to sponsor their own family members (siblings, parents, children etc.) In other cases, particularly for a young person planning to attend Chrysalis, parents may feel better about encouraging other adults to sponsor their child.
    4. In some cases, young or inexperienced sponsors need to be linked up with experienced sponsors in order to ensure follow-through on all the responsibilities of good sponsorship. Persons who only recently attended an Emmaus Ministries event would better serve with the assistance of an experienced co-sponsor.  Registrars need some sensitivity to sponsors who require assistance.

    Given the importance of sponsorship, sponsors do not serve team members on Emmaus Ministries events with people they are sponsoring. If the person has already committed to sponsor, he or she declines the invitation to be a team member.  Team members cannot support a participant during the event in the manner intended, such as sponsor’s hour, the prayer vigil and candlelight.

    Confusing the roles of team member and sponsor in relationship with a participant diminishes the value of both roles.


    KwaZulu-Natal Emmaus Community Banking Details

    Bank: First National Bank
    Account Name: Kwazulu Natal Emmaus Community
    Account Number: 622 185 610 84
    Branch Code: 22 43 26
    Reference: Initial & Surname

    Email Proof Of Payment to:

    Walk to Emmaus

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