Learning to Lead
a Discernment Group

Like many undertakings, leading a discernment group is both a science and an art.
Based on extensive experience, we’ve created a training program to teach you best practices.
You’ll also bring your own gifts and personality to enrich the group.

Learning to Lead
a Discernment Group

The Melchizedek Project

The Importance of Leader Training

Fr. Michael Pratt and Fr. Brett Brannen personally train all group leaders over three Zoom sessions. This is a “crash-course” on best practices and leading an effective group, borne out of field-tested practices.

We ask that all leaders complete the training before requesting free materials. Once you register for training, you’ll have access to all videos and materials.

August 2024

Intro Meeting (20 min) - August 6, at 11am EST

The training facilitator will introduce Discernment Groups and explain how the training works.

ZOOM LINK – Intro Meeting (20 min) – August 6, at 11:00am EST

Check-In #1 (30 min) - August 13, at 11am EST

ZOOM LINK – Check-In #1 (30 min) – August 13, at 11:00am EST

Check-In #2 (30 min) - August 20, at 11am EST

ZOOM LINK – Check-In #2 (30 min) – August 20, at 11:00am EST

Check-In #3 (30 min) - August 23, at 11am EST

ZOOM LINK – Check-In #3 (30 min) – August 23, at 11:00am EST

September 2024

Intro Meeting (20 min) - September 17, at 11am EST

ZOOM LINK – Intro Meeting (20 min) – September 17, at 11:00am EST

Check-In #1 (30 min) - September 24, at 11am EST

ZOOM LINK – Check-In #1 (30 min) – September 24, at 11:00am EST

Check-In #2 (30 min) - October 1, at 11am EST

ZOOM LINK – Check-In #2 (30 min) – October 1, at 11:00am EST

Check-In #3 (30 min) - October 8, at 11am EST

ZOOM LINK – Check-In #3 (30 min) – October 8, at 11:00am EST

Getting started

Tips for Forming Your Group

Discernment groups are incredibly fruitful, but it can be challenging to find enough men willing to commit to the meetings.
Here are a few tips based on years of experience.

Priesthood Discernment Groups

Normalize Discernment

Do not promote the group as if it is only for men who want to be priests! Rather, the group is for faithful Catholic men who are open to God’s call, whatever it may be, and want to learn about priesthood—even if only to rule it out. Stress that every good, young, practicing Catholic man who loves Jesus Christ and His Church should spend some time discerning priesthood. Even if he is called to marriage and fatherhood, learning about the priesthood will make him a better Catholic man! One group leader says to students on campus: “Give Jesus six sessions to learn about discernment and then, if you’re not called, go in peace.”

Getting started

Tips for Forming Your Group

Discernment groups are incredibly fruitful, but it can be challenging to find enough men willing to commit to the meetings.
Here are a few tips based on years of experience.

Priesthood Discernment Groups

Normalize Discernment

Do not promote the group as if it is only for men who want to be priests! Rather, the group is for faithful Catholic men who are open to God’s call, whatever it may be, and want to learn about priesthood—even if only to rule it out. Stress that every good, young, practicing Catholic man who loves Jesus Christ and His Church should spend some time discerning priesthood. Even if he is called to marriage and fatherhood, learning about the priesthood will make him a better Catholic man! One group leader says to students on campus: “Give Jesus six sessions to learn about discernment and then, if you’re not called, go in peace.”

GROW IN FAITH & FELLOWSHIP

Personal Invitation is Best

Typically, the facilitators personally invite members to participate. Can you think of men you already know, who are practicing their Catholic faith, and might be interested in learning more about what it’s like to be a priest? That’s a great place to start.

GROW IN FAITH & FELLOWSHIP

Personal Invitation is Best

Typically, the facilitators personally invite members to participate. Can you think of men you already know, who are practicing their Catholic faith, and might be interested in learning more about what it’s like to be a priest? That’s a great place to start.

Empowering Young Men

Make Groups of Similarly Aged Men

It is important to form groups of men who are in the same stage of life. For example, high schoolers with high schoolers, college students with college students, young adults with young adults.

Empowering Young Men

Make Groups of Similarly Aged Men

It is important to form groups of men who are in the same stage of life. For example, high schoolers with high schoolers, college students with college students, young adults with young adults.

Grow in Love of Christ

Draw from a Larger Group

Already leading an active youth ministry? Connected to a vibrant young adult group? Serve as chaplain on campus? Often, when you are part of an existing group, you can ask a few men to form a small “group within the group.”

Grow in Love of Christ

Draw from a Larger Group

Already leading an active youth ministry? Connected to a vibrant young adult group? Serve as chaplain on campus? Often, when you are part of an existing group, you can ask a few men to form a small “group within the group.”

Grow in Fellowship

Enlist Help to Start the Group

Another powerful (and easy!) way to gather members is to enlist the help of someone already interested in joining a group. Have that person invite a few others, preferably friends, who might be willing to join. Sometimes they will fill the whole roster! It’s a great starting point since they already know each other.

Grow in Fellowship

Enlist Help to Start the Group

Another powerful (and easy!) way to gather members is to enlist the help of someone already interested in joining a group. Have that person invite a few others, preferably friends, who might be willing to join. Sometimes they will fill the whole roster! It’s a great starting point since they already know each other.

Share in The Truth

Don’t Be Afraid to Sell It

When first hearing about this discernment experience, potential members may be hesitant to commit. That’s pretty normal. But experience has shown the vast majority of participants absolutely love it. So be confident your group will be fantastic! Don’t be afraid to sell it! Six weeks exploring this vocation with other young men could be exactly what that guy needs right now.

Share in The Truth

Don’t Be Afraid to Sell It

When first hearing about this discernment experience, potential members may be hesitant to commit. That’s pretty normal. But experience has shown the vast majority of participants absolutely love it. So be confident your group will be fantastic! Don’t be afraid to sell it! Six weeks exploring this vocation with other young men could be exactly what that guy needs right now.

Reminders Galore

The day before and the day of the first meeting be sure to send reminders in the group text about the meeting time and place. Young men need reminders. After the first meeting, one of the members will assume this important role.

Rely on the Discussion Guide

Trust us on this one—just use the Field Guide and watch the videos and the meeting will nearly run itself! No need for re-invention.

Always Provide Refreshments

Including food creates community and prompts informal discussion. This is an important component of building camaraderie and helping men feel at ease.

Let the Men do the Talking

Don’t dominate the conversation; let guys talk about what’s on their minds and hearts. Start with the easy icebreaker questions provided in the guide, so men can get used to sharing aloud. Discussion will get deeper as men get to know each other.

Don’t be Too Formal

The idea is to build a wholesome environment of spiritual support, but also camaraderie and fun. If there’s no laughter, you’re doing it wrong!

Recruit Seminarians

Seminarians can make excellent group leaders. For a Pastoral Year or Summer Assignment, task a seminarian with organizing and leading a discernment group.

Reminders Galore

The day before and the day of the first meeting be sure to send reminders in the group text about the meeting time and place. Young men need reminders. After the first meeting, one of the members will assume this important role.

Rely on the Discussion Guide

Trust us on this one—just use the Field Guide and watch the videos and the meeting will nearly run itself! No need for re-invention.

Always Provide Refreshments

Including food creates community and prompts informal discussion. This is an important component of building camaraderie and helping men feel at ease.

Let the Men do the Talking

Don’t dominate the conversation; let guys talk about what’s on their minds and hearts. Start with the easy icebreaker questions provided in the guide, so men can get used to sharing aloud. Discussion will get deeper as men get to know each other.

Don’t be Too Formal

The idea is to build a wholesome environment of spiritual support, but also camaraderie and fun. If there’s no laughter, you’re doing it wrong!

Recruit Seminarians

Seminarians can make excellent group leaders. For a Pastoral Year or Summer Assignment, task a seminarian with organizing and leading a discernment group.

The Best Approach
to Discernment

The Melchizedek Project began in 2012 and has spread to more than 140 dioceses in the US and worldwide. Many Vocation Directors say it is the single best approach for helping men take the next step toward seminary if they are called.

Discernment Groups

Young Catholic Men

Dioceses

The Best Approach
to Discernment

The Melchizedek Project began in 2012 and has spread to more than 140 dioceses in the US and worldwide. Many Vocation Directors say it is the single best approach for helping men take the next step toward seminary if they are called.

Discernment
Groups

Young
Catholic Men

Dioceses