“A fertilizer for churches” is the way that one pastor describes a spiritual retreat called a “Walk to Emmaus”. A fertilizer for churches? Actually, the purpose of fertilizer is to provide nutrition that will help plants to grow. Fertilizer for a church would be something that would provide nutrition that will help Christians to grow and become stronger in the Lord. The stronger Christians are capable of providing lay leadership to the churches. So, the “Walk to Emmaus” is designed to prepare leaders for our churches.
The Walk to Emmaus is a 72-hour spiritual retreat open to adult Christians from all denominations. The name of the event comes from scripture in Luke 24:13-35. This is a story of 2 men who were walking to Emmaus, discussing the arrest and crucifixion and death of Jesus, when Jesus joined them. As the three of them walked together, Jesus explained to them what the prophets said about him. I think this reference is somewhat analogous to the activity that occurs during the retreat. All participants get to hear a total of fifteen talks from both laity and clergy concerning the work of Christ and what it means in our everyday lives.
In addition to hearing these talks, the participants participate in the following activities: participate in worship services under the direction of clergy, view multimedia presentations, sing songs, pray, eat great food, and have an opportunity to experience some light-hearted activities. People have the opportunity to meet other like-minded Christians and forge friendships that many will maintain for the rest of their lives.
Some participants have reported this weekend to be life changing. Some have said that it simply helped to strengthen their faith. Because everyone is at different points in their faith journey when they participate, they all receive something different. But God meets people right where they are, so each receives what he or she needs.
The process for attending a walk is simple. Fill out an application and send it in to the appropriate conference. Anyone who has attended can help to guide you. Depending on where you live, there may be several walks scheduled for your gender in your area. Anyone who has attended a walk before can sponsor you.
Your sponsor is responsible for taking care of anything that you would have had to do on the weekend , such as cutting grass, watering plants for you, etc. Anything that could interfere with your ability to attend the walk should be tended to by your sponsor. Additionally, your sponsor will pray for you and drive you to the retreat center where you will attend. Once the walk is over, they will drive you home and continue to pray for you and help you to get settled in to the group meetings to which you will be invited once you have attended the walk.
Cell phones and cameras are not permitted during the weekend. You will also be asked to remove your watch. This is because for a full 72 hours, you will be asked to participate in the experience with no distractions from the outside world. You will be in a cloistered environment that does not allow outsiders to come in and distract you or to do anything to detract from a unique experience.
If you are interested in attending a walk, please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the following website: http://upperroom.org/emmaus.
copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins