For our purposes, outreach might be defined as helping people listen to, and heed, God’s call to Pilgrimage-Cursillo. Though outreach takes place at multiple levels, it is best person-to-person.
- Locally, we invite individuals to Pilgrimage-Cursillo
- As a group, we invite congregations that have sent few, if any, to Pilgrimage-Cursillo
- At the community and national level, we train new communities to host their own Pilgrimage-Cursillo and seek to learn from other communities
We cannot bring a single individual to Pilgrimage-Cursillo; God does that, but God expects and empowers us to help
A Prayerful Invitation
Most of us attended Pilgrimage-Cursillo because someone invited us. Some perhaps signed up after just hearing or reading about it, but most people did so by personal invitation.
The Cursillo manual points out, however, that as we do this there is a danger to keep in mind. “That danger is forgetting the basic premise of Cursillo participation. And that premise is the same as the primary understanding of how one becomes Christian in the first place. God calls. God needs neither our coercion, manipulation, nor heavy handed pressure to effect the work of the Holy Spirit.”
One of the privileges that we now share is the opportunity to invite someone else to attend a Cursillo weekend. – Jim Hunt
It is perfectly acceptable to tell others about our own Pilgrimage-Cursillo experience and to encourage them to attend. However, no one should be invited with the directive that they should or must attend or that doing so will somehow make them “better Christians.” This can be a turn-off and is counter to the focus of the the weekend that is centered on the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Most importantly, our invitations to attend a Pilgrimage-Cursillo should be extended as a result of prayer. After all, prayer is fundamental to Pilgrimage-Cursillo. In fact, a guideline for prayer and the invitation is stated in the manual: “…before selecting a prospect, speak to God about others before speaking to others about God.”
The manual also states that “although healing (emotional, physical and psychological) can and does take place in Cursillo, it is not a healing ministry. Neither does Cursillo seek to lead persons specifically to address the issues of individual salvation. Rather Cursillo seeks persons who are themselves seeking; persons who are Christian, but who are seeking a more vital expression of faith in life.”
The Pilgrimage-Cursillo weekend has resulted in a powerful expression of God’s love for those of us whom God has called to attend. I hope you will prayerfully consider inviting a friend to share in that experience.
Get Their Attention
Once upon a time, there was an apprentice mule trainer who spent his first morning at the training farm in the classroom listening to the instructor impress upon him the need to be sensitive, loving and gentle with the mules. That afternoon, in the mule yard, he watched as the instructor brought out an untrained mule and tethered him to the training ring.
He was amazed to see the instructor walk over, pick up a six foot length of 2×4 lumber and smack the mule hard across the rump. “You told me to be gentle and loving!” The apprentice accused.
“Yes”, the instructor replied, “but first you’ve got to get their attention!”
We believe that those who attend our Cursillo and Pilgrimage weekends are called to do so by God. If God is calling them to come, why do we need an outreach effort? Because people don’t always listen to God! A minister who is near and dear to me heard God calling her to the ministry 28 years before she finally entered seminary. I ran around for years with earplugs fully inserted before I finally returned to the church.
Don’t ask yourself how many pilgrims attended your last weekend – ask yourself how many were called – and never came. How many folks do you believe God is calling to attend our weekends – just enough to fill the tables twice a year? Or is he calling hundreds, even thousands more than we can accommodate with our present schedule of two or three or four weekends a year? I think Christ gave the answer to this question to Peter when he said “Feed my sheep.”
I suggest you think about it – and pray about it – a lot. Is Cursillo or Pilgrimage “our thing” that we do every so often for our own enjoyment, or is it a ministry to those who would take up leadership in our churches and help the reform continue? Remember the motto, “reformed and always reforming.”
After we pray, we’ve got to get their attention.
Perhaps the most effective way we can influence someone’s weekend experience is by sponsoring them. This has different meanings in different communities, but it’s very important in all communities.
In some places, it means paying the participant’s fee, or at least a major portion of it. It always means helping to prepare the person you sponsor to attend the weekend (see our shepherding guide).
Sponsorship is a very important gift (regardless of financial contribution) that is given to the future participant and is a great way for 4th Day to serve.
Be a friend, be a sponsor
“I want to sponsor you to attend…” may well be far more effective than just saying: “You ought to go…”
- Praying for the pilgrim daily
- Answering questions
- Arranging transportation
- Holding the nervous hand
- Helping to clear roadblocks to attendance; e.g., finding child-care, taking care of pets / plants, gathering mail, etc.
- Reminding married couples to pack separately or, if partner is staying home, tell them about the late Sunday afternoon return and sparse time for phone calls while at the weekend
- Attend serenade, closing, and homecoming Ultreya-gathering so your participant can see that you really do care
- When you are looking for pilgrimages bear in mind the influence they will have on others, not only the good they will derive from Pilgrimage-Cursillo for themselves
- Pray for your guest often; before, during, and after the weekend
- Check with guest before the weekend
- Write Agape-palanca and obtain Agape-palanca letters from family/close friends of guest
- Write Agape-palanca for staff
- Check in within a few days after the weekend and invite them to your renewal / reunion group or encourage them to create their own
- Bring your guest to the first Ultreya-gathering after the weekend
What does it take?
- Vision, and a lot of hard, dedicated work; planning, recruiting, organizing, and it’s pretty nearly the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do
- A champion, a leader to pull it all together; sometimes the best thing you can do is to interest and recruit such a person
- Pilgrimage-Cursillo are not “call up and order the kit” type of programs; they are people reflecting God’s love
- Pilgrimage-Cursillo starts with a spiritual retreat that requires a bunch of people to staff and support them, as well as some place to house them
- Pilgrimage-Cursillo is just about the best gift you can give your community
- More detail
But the question remains, can we as a national organization, be more effective in planting seeds that will grow into new communities? …I believe God gave us the experience of Pilgrimage-Cursillo in order that we might pass it on, by showing others over the course of a weekend just how much they are loved.
– John Day