The Deputy Grand Master, Senior and Junior Grand Wardens, the Grand Secretary and myself have just returned from the Conference of Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries in Kansas City. There were over sixty different Grand Jurisdictions represented. The attendees were able to exchange ideas, compare membership trends and join in proactive seminars. The Seminars were very informative they dealt with everything from membership retention, working with new members and social media concepts.
I have asked, in past articles, why did you join this great Fraternity? The answers all vary but we all found a perceived personal value in belonging. How many of our Lodges have Entered Apprentices or Fellowcrafts that never moved on to their next degree? Wonder why? In other Grand Lodge Jurisdictions they contacted those who never continued their journey. One answer was over whelming; 86% responded that we didn’t live up to their expectations and “They felt ignored”.
We have the ability to change that response and make those new Brothers feel welcomed and part of your Lodge Family. Young men today are much better informed as they research our Fraternity prior to asking to join. They expect us to teach and live our lessons of Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love. They see a multi-generational group of men united for a common cause. A Candidate wants a direct personal experience, be nurtured, be able to express themselves and be involved in a journey of self and community development.
Our Lodges have the tools to accomplish those goals.
- Internet inquiries
- Membership Committee or their designees should respond.
- Arrange a short interview to answer questions.
- Invite the Individual to a Friends Night or Private tour of your Lodge.
- Offer a Petition – Background Check – Prior reading Petition.
- Petitions from Individuals – Recommended by a Brother
- Background Check – Prior to reading the Petition
- Interview Committee meets with the Petitioner & his family
- First Line signer becomes a Mentor – Mentors bring the Petitioner and the new Brothers to all Meetings and Lodge Events
- The Ashlar Program – see the Grand Lodge Website
- The Lodge’s newest Master Mason properly mentors the new candidate or brother with the Lodge Counselor.
- As a mentor, the new Master Mason will develop a stronger bond with the lodge as well as with the new candidate.
- The new Master Mason mentor earns an Ashlar Award – Certificate & Pin
- The Process repeats itself.
These are some suggestions to support our new Brothers. As a new member, would you rather be “ENGAGED” or “IGNORED”? When we feel welcomed and not taken for granted, we become a contributing member to our Great Fraternity. I have had the opportunity to sign several Ashlar Awards. There seems to be a direct correlation between Growing Lodges who use a Mentoring Program.
We need to bring “Diversity” into our Fraternity and celebrate those different gifts of that “Diversity”. It’s that “Diversity” that makes us strong and creates that bond among us.