The difference Emmaus® makes is seen in the sixty-year-old man who, after his weekend, decides to give up his antique business and enter seminary. Or the woman who was inspired to write a song, praising God in her many local performances. Another example is the doctor who took to adding Bible verses to his prescription sheets to reinforce Christ as the “best medicine.” -Laywoman from Ohio
The aim of Emmaus® is to inspire, challenge, and equip local church members for Christian action-in their homes, churches, workplaces, and communities. Several important components of the Emmaus® program work together to accomplish this aim.
The three-day Emmaus® course in Christianity moves church members to new levels of openness and commitment as disciples of Christ. People re-experience the gift of God’s love and emerge from the Emmaus® weekend with a desire to pass that love on to others. The three-day course strengthens persons’ conscious union with Jesus Christ as the embodiment of God’s grace, truth, and compassion.
A layman from Tennessee wrote, “I learned the importance of a life of piety, study, and service and their interrelationship in providing a life in grace. I felt the immense power of God’s love and grace and new insights into ways of sustaining and increasing my openness to that grace. I developed a new longing to share my experience of Christ with others with hopes that they too can feel what I feel. Although my Christian journey started a long time ago, the progress and growth due to my Emmaus® experience is invaluable to me.”
The Emmaus® weekend gives participants an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of their faith in God, to receive the transforming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to relate closely with other persons who are seeking a deeper faith, and to rededicate their lives as members of the body of Christ called to ministry in the world.
The Emmaus® follow-up groups build on what begins during the three-day experience. These little discipleship groups of two to six persons meet weekly for an hour. Members review their weekly spiritual practices, their awareness of Christ’s presence and call, and their plans for the week to come. The accountability group’s purpose is to provide ongoing support for one another’s commitment to live wholly in the grace of God and to grow in the self-giving spirit of Jesus Christ. In addition to undergirding personal Christian growth, the follow-up groups serve as excellent bases for Christian action and outreach in the local community.
Teams in servant hood make a difference. Many who participate in Emmaus® also grow in the servant spirit of Jesus Christ through their subsequent involvement in making Emmaus® possible for others. By serving in the kitchen, setting up the rooms, cleaning the bathrooms, preparing the worship center, praying for the pilgrims and teams from behind the scenes, or committing to weeks of team preparation, these persons learn the joy and discipline of humble servant hood. By serving as team members and committing to several weeks of team preparation, persons learn to lead faith-sharing in small groups, to express their faith and speak before groups, and to use their unique gifts in concert with the gifts of others as members of one body.
Local church involvement is an outgrowth of Emmaus®. Though involvement in Emmaus® activities can be fun and satisfying, Emmaus achieves its aim only when local churches gain strength; and people become active members of the body of Christ, sharing the love of God in homes, workplaces, and communities around the world. Participation and service in all aspects of Emmaus®-the three-day short course, follow-up groups, team and background support-are designed to empower and equip Christians to effectively be Christ’s hands and feet in the world.