Before it becomes a butterfly, a caterpillar goes through a
growth stage during which it is called a "chrysalis." On
the surface it may not look like much is happening, but the delicate
chrysalis process changes the fuzzy caterpillar into an awesome
butterfly with wings of intricate designs and intense colors. The
chrysalis process symbolizes how Christ can transform you into
something beyond your dreams. It happens when you grow beyond
yourself, opening your life to Jesus' power and love.
"Chrysalis" is the name chosen for the youth and
young adult version of The Walk to Emmaus, its parent movement,
because it symbolizes the spiritual growth that is essential between
adolescence and adulthood. That growth is as crucial for youth as
the cocoon is for the caterpillar. It is that precious time of
nurturing a person's faith for discipleship.
Chrysalis "Flights" (for 10th through 12th
graders) and "Journeys" (for young adults, ages 19-24) are
three-day events. This three-day spiritual renewal time provides an
opportunity for you to learn more about faith, to experience
Christian love and support, and to make new faith commitments. The
point is to inspire, challenge and equip you for a closer friendship
with Christ and for Christian action at home, church, school, and
lifts up a way for you to enjoy Christ's friendship and love and
to be Christ's friend and partner in the world. The three days focus
on God's grace, your experience with Christ as friend, what it means
to be the body of Christ, and giving love to a needy world.
Each young person who attends Chrysalis has a
"sponsor" who supports and encourages him/her before,
during, and after the Chrysalis experience.
Sponsorship is the way in which the Chrysalis experience is
passed on from person to person, reflecting the manner in which God
purposefully reaches out to people through other people. After a
Chrysalis Weekend, participants want to share the gift of those
three days with others. Sponsorship provides them a caring and
disciplined way for them to share. And in doing so, sponsors
participate in and demonstrate God's outreaching love.
Sponsorship is taken for granted in many communities. The
assumption is that everyone knows the how and why of sponsorship.
Sometimes sponsorship is only discussed with reference to the number
of participants signed up for a Chrysalis Weekend.
however, is the most important job in the Chrysalis Movement. It
is a job shared by the adults who have been through Emmaus and the
young people who have been through Chrysalis. It is more than simply
"signing youth up." The importance of a Chrysalis Community
being educated about good sponsorship cannot be overemphasized.
The quality of sponsorship impacts the new participants, the health
of the Chrysalis Movement in an area, and the churches being affected
Aim of Sponsorship
The aim of sponsorship is the same as the aim of Chrysalis:
the spiritual growth of young Christians as disciples of Jesus
Christ through churches and their youth groups. Every sponsor should
reflect upon his or her motivation for wanting to sponsor a young
person and make sure it is consistent with this aim. Some examples
of mistaken aims include:
- "to get all of my
friends to go"
- to have a full weekend
- to reproduce one's own
religious experience in others
- to fix a young person's
problems or crisis
Sponsorship can be motivated, however, by a number of hopes
and prayers for young persons which are consistent with the aim of
Chrysalis. These include giving young persons the gift of three days
experience the accepting and healing grace of God through Christian
realize they are precious in God's eyes, that they are here on
this earth for a holy purpose
discuss without judgment their questions and struggles as young
persons with peers and mature Christian adults
hear anew the gospel of God's love in Jesus Christ and the basics
of Christian faith and life
make friends with other youth who share the faith and will support
each other in living as Christians
develop relationships with mature Christian adults, relationships
which might extend beyond the three days
be strengthened in their decisions to follow Jesus
be better prepared to live as Christian witnesses in home, school,
church, and community
learn what goes into building their lives and relationships on
a solid foundation
bring new vitality to the church youth group upon returning, to
inspire the sponsorship of other youth, to energize the body of
Christ through young people whose hearts are on fire with the
love of Christ.
High School Chrysalis is for high school (tenth through
twelfth grades) age young people. Chrysalis is especially meaningful
for young people who are ready to think and share about the
realities and struggles of life on a more adult level: "What am
I going to do with my life?" "Who 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?"
Common experience has been that young people who are not yet
tenth graders will benefit from waiting and should be sponsored with
their age group. Young people will gain immensely more from
Chrysalis when they are developmentally ready and are in tune with
the life experiences of the other youth participants. Sponsorship of
participants who are too young can sometimes detract from the value
of the three days for the age group for whom Chrysalis is intended.
Chrysalis (or young adult Chrysalis) is the same program and is
for young adults eighteen to twenty-three (18-23) years of age.
College-age Chrysalis has emerged to fill an age gap of persons
who are often not being reached by either high school Chrysalis
or the Walk to Emmaus for adults. Nevertheless, young adults who
are beyond high school can be sponsored to the Walk to Emmaus as
well. Sponsors must discern the most promising route for the each
Step Groups & Hoots
Next Step Groups are small groups of young people who have
been on a Chrysalis Flight or Journey. The groups are designed to
keep the spirit of the Chrysalis weekend alive and staying in
relationship to help one another live in the light of God's love as
disciples of Jesus Christ. At the end of a Chrysalis weekend,
participants are broken into groups by churches, schools, or towns.
In some communities, young people divide themselves into groups by
regular times and days when they would be able to meet.
After the Chrysalis experience is over, Next Steps groups
meet regularly to participate in a time of sharing based on the Next
Steps Card (a card received during the Chrysalis weekend).
are larger, less frequent, gatherings of all of the young people
and adults in an area who have participated in Chrysalis for the
purpose of renewing relationships, rekindling the fire of faith,
and planning to support upcoming Chrysalis weekends.
About Servant Leadership
does not exist primarily for the weekend events. Its purposes are
to deepen the faith of individual young people, to increase the
faith of congregations, and to bring Christianity to the world.
Chrysalis gives participants the skills needed for leadership and
invites them to make the commitment needed to build up the church
for the sake of Jesus Christ. The questions asked at the closing
- "What has this weekend meant to you?" and "What
are you going to do with it?" -- help participants begin to
comprehend the kind of servant leadership that God may require of
them in the future.
Ideas for becoming a Servant/Leader
is about developing leadership in a spirit of servanthood. This
sort of leadership requires a practiced ability to listen, as E.
Glenn Hinson develops in his book,
Preparation for Christian Leadership, pp. 50-53:
V. Steere, one of the leading Quakers of the twentieth century,
was a mentor and teacher in the spiritual life for many. A Harvard
Ph.D. and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he spent much of his life
in a quest to know God . . . .
In his classic On
Listening to Another (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1955),
Douglas Steere has listed four qualities of a good listener. The
first is vulnerability. Vulnerability comes from the Latin words
meaning "capable of being wounded," "able to be
hurt." Douglas reminds how much better the people with leprosy
on the island of Molokai in Hawaii heard Father Damien that morning
he began his sermon, "Brothers, we lepers." And, I should
add, how much better Damien heard them after he contracted leprosy!
The second is
acceptance. This does not mean, Douglas says, toleration born of
indifference. Acceptance comes very close to what agape-love means
in the New Testament. Agape is the kind of love that does not try to
shape and mold the other person into its own mold. It accepts the
other just as that person is.
The third is
expectancy. Expectancy has to do with hopefulness. Douglas Steere
was the kind of person who inspired hope in others. Many are those
who would say that, until Alzheimer's disease impaired his
faculties, they never met Douglas without feeling buoyed up and
encouraged. In writing his biography I spent much time trying to
discover the secret behind such experiences. I found two clues.
One is an optimism
that pervaded his life. He could always see a ray of light
penetrating every dark cloud. He looked at life from the bright
side. Teilhard de Chardin possessed that same optimism grounded in a
conviction that God, Divine Love, is at the very heart of things . .
. . Yes. That is true. And I could go on to add, "We overcome
sickness, we overcome grief, we overcome life by finding God in
The other is a
sense of mission Douglas Steere had. It was something he learned
from Martin Buber in a Quaker meeting at Haverford College in 1951.
During the meeting, the remarkable Jewish philosopher said that the
greatest thing one person could do for another was to confirm what
was deepest in the other. That thought constantly recurred in
Douglas's speech and writing, but more important, it pervaded his
relationships with others. He wanted, above everything, to confirm
what was deepest in other persons, arousing the hope that was in
The fourth is
constancy. The Latin and Greek behind this word mean "to stand
with" or "stay with" another. Douglas speaks of
"Infinite patience." Really to listen to another, you have
to exercise patience. You can't "ho hum" and start saying,
"Oh, you mean . . . ," when you don't know what someone
means but are saying, "If you will say something like this, we
can get on with this and I can go on to something else." To
listen is to "stay with" the other.
Listening is more
than hearing words and distinguishing sounds. Seeing is more than
looking at objects. Douglas Steere cited a story from John Woolman,
the eighteenth-century Quaker saint. Following a Native American
rebellion, Woolman undertook a dangerous trip to visit the Delaware
Indians at Welialoosing on the Susquehanna River. Initially, he
tried to communicate with their chief, Papunehang, through a
Moravian missionary. When that seemed unsuccessful, he asked the
interpreters to let him pray without translation. Before the meeting
closed, he was told that Papunehang had said, "I love to feel
where words come from." (1) The object is to get beyond words
and thoughts. Communication has many levels, and you want to reach
the deepest of them.
exchange, moreover, there is more than the speaker and the hearer.
There is also the Eternal Listener, Kierkegaard's Eternal Spectator.
God is there. Douglas Steere cited Psalm 139, that wonderful poem
about God's inescapable nearness. In the first seven verses the
psalmist told how intimately God knows each person: "Even
before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely"
(v. 4). Then in verse 8, this one who wanted so desperately to
escape God summed up his experience of God's unavoidable presentness:
"If I ascend to heaven, you are there." That, of course,
is where you expect God to be. But the other half, "if I make
my bed in Sheol, you are there," that is what rolls over you.
Two things in that
jump out at you. First, the psalmist said, "If I make my
bed," not if I trip and fall in. You can't mess up your life so
badly that God will not be there. Second, Sheol is by definition in
Hebrew thought where God is not. But for our psalmist there is
nowhere God is not.
If I take the
wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you. (Ps. 139: 9-12)
do you do with your listening and your seeing? Douglas Steere contends
that, if you really listen, you may listen another person to a condition
of awareness of the Eternal Listener's presence. And if you really
listen, you may become aware of the Eternal Listener.
permission from Spiritual
Preparation for Christian Leadership by E. Glenn Hinson.
Copyright © 1999 by E. Glenn Hinson. Published by Upper Room Books.
All rights reserved.
If you would like
to learn more about Douglas Steere, read his classic book Dimensions
of Prayer: Cultivating a Relationship with God.
(1) John Woolman, The Journal of John Woolman (New York:
Corinth Books, 1961), p. 151.