The word sponsorship indicates an acceptance of personal responsibility for the well-being of an individual in some area of endeavor. Sponsorship, as it applies to the Journey to Damascus, involves a deep personal commitment, not only to the pilgrim being sponsored but also to the particular weekend of renewal.
Sponsors are God's personal emissaries upon whose shoulders the Journey rests. As members of a Journey to Damascus, Walk to Emmaus, Cum Christo, or Cursillo community, it is the sponsor's duty to:
- Consider the potential pilgrim's current suitability, (Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, etc) for the intense weekend of spiritual renewal.
- Remember that sponsorship involves a commitment to the spiritual growth of the pilgrim and has nothing to do with just filling rosters or recruiting friends and family.
- Discuss with the potential pilgrim what she or he can expect to experience throughout the weekend as well as what will be required of them. (Primarily an open mind and a receptive heart)
- Explain the ecumenical nature of the Journey to ensure the pilgrim is tolerant of teachings and traditions other than his or her own. Pilgrims should be aware that no attempt will be made to influence their personal belief structure but they will be asked to respect the beliefs and traditions of others.
- Be prepared to guide the pilgrim into their fourth day by providing continuing prayer, guidance, and fellowship. This fourth day activity should include, but not be limited to helping the pilgrim locate and become involved ina a reunion group.
Sponsorship is an intensely personal commitment that must be taken very seriously. The success or failure ot the Journey to Damascus effort rests not only on the right program or the right team members, but more importantly, it rests on the right pilgrims, at the right time, sponsored and supported by the right people. As sponsors, community members are answering a direct call from God to go forth and make disciples.
Today's pilgrim will be tomorrow's sponsor and the success of tomorrow's Journey may depend on how well we as sponsors do what is required of us.
Finally, consider these facts:
- Good sponsorship is essential to the Journey to Damascus spiritual renewal effort.
- Good sponsorship is an incredible act of agape.
- Good sponsorship is the catalyst that bonds a pilgrim to a healthy and productive fourth day.
- Good sponsorship is the foundation upon which a healthy, vital and active spiritual community can be built.
- Today's pilgrim may be tomorrow's priest, pastor, teacher, spiritual mentor, or just a good friend.