Emmaus Road International was birthed on February 28, 1983. It was at a time when Neal Pirolo, founder and director of ERI was seeking the Lord for new direction in ministry. Through the counsel of several friends (who became the founding Board of Directors), they sensed the new ministry would continue in the area of missions education, would encompass a great number of churches around the world and would be an independent corporation.
During the normal course of his Bible reading, on that February day, Neal came to Luke 24. As he read the Emmaus Road story, the Lord "neon-lighted" a number of phrases which characterized the teaching he had been stressing for cross-cultural ministry. And they have become the thrust of Emmaus Road International:
- Jesus came along side and walked with the disciples. A good missionary will come along side and work with the nationals.
- Jesus hid His own identity from them. A good missionary will "hide" his own identity. If any names must be in the marquee let it be the names of the nationals.
- Though Jesus knew their need, He allowed them to verbalize it. A good missionary will discover the felt needs of the nationals and integrate what God has shown him to share.
- Jesus revealed Himself through the Word. A good missionary will direct the nationals to the Word. He will let the Message of Hope come from the Bible. What better (in any of our "programs") do we have to offer?
- Jesus stayed with them until their hearts were "burning" within them. A good missionary will get a fire kindled (or rekindled) in their hearts, working with them—mentoring them—until that Flame is burning brightly.
- When the disciples were able to minister on their own—running back to Jerusalem shouting, "He's risen! He's risen!"—Jesus split! He wasn't needed there anymore. He had other work to do. He "got out of the way!" A good missionary will anxiously look for the time to turn ministry over to the nationals (often times a lot sooner than he thinks), and "get out of the way!"
Through the course of years, ministry focus has been defined and expanded, refined and modified. But the key components have remained. Our strategy is to assist a church MOBILIZE the cross-cultural "parts" of their Body; assist a church, mission agency or college TRAIN the cross-cultural team, both the GOERS and the SENDERS; and to NETWORK that church and team with a ministry asking for help.
Thereby, Emmaus Road International is also a "come along side" ministry. No one "joins" Emmaus Road. Rather, we come along side your church, agency, or college to provide the resources the Lord has given us that you can use to ignite, develop, and expand your involvement in cross-cultural ministry.
These resources have developed in five categories:
The scope of our ministry allows us to work with any individual or group proclaiming the all-inclusive ("whosoever will may come"), all-exclusive ("no one comes to the Father but by Me") Gospel message.