Brothers, men are knocking on our doors seeking admission. Lodges are doing degrees all over the state. We are bringing in new Masons. Good men seeking something that are not finding elsewhere. They are coming. Now how do we keep them?
Men become Masons for many reasons. Some are seeking the fellowship of like-minded men. Some are looking for deeper meanings or a stronger spiritual side to their life. Some are coming to find and practice a moral compass that is often missing or hard to find in society at large. Some come for the history. Many come because they are curious. They are coming. Now how do we keep them?
First become a Mentor to the new Mason. In our gentle craft the Poster has an important job in teaching the new Mason about who we are and what we do. He is not a Mentor though. He can be one but posting a new Mason is not mentoring. Mentoring is more than teaching. It is getting to know the new Brother. A mentor is more of a guide that teaches by example and friendship. My Masonic mentors made sure I came to lodge. Brought me to Masonic events and opened doors for me that I never knew existed. They urged me to better myself in ritual and Masonic history. After a bond began to form, they taught me about life. They taught me about hobbies and raising children. How to enjoy the good times and endure the bad. I am using the plural in talking about my mentors because there were and are many. They are all friends and they all had an impact on who I am.
The other key to keeping them is keeping them active and addressing their interests. The Master of the Lodge’s job is to put the Brothers to work. Work outside of lodge night. Is the Brother a handyman? Does he like to cook? Is he the guy to put the newsletter together? Is he a fund raiser? Is his personality one that he would be the guy to send out to visit shut-ins? Everyone enjoys feeling needed. We didn’t join lodge for business meetings. We joined to do something.
Now on lodge night there is business to conduct and not every Brother will share the same interests. I am asking you my Brothers, to start thinking outside of lodge. Outposts, book clubs, discussion groups are great ways for Brothers to interact. Your lodge may be strong on Brotherly Love and philanthropy but might not have an interest in Esoterics. The new guy in lodge though joined to find deeper meaning. A book club or discussion group may be the answer. It might only be four or five brothers meeting but it feeds them what they are hungry for. Better yet if you know of one in the district or a neighboring lodge get them involved.
If he is looking for friendship maybe a breakfast club or a group that goes to a fish fry (Wives invited) once a month. Could your lodge sponsor a bowling team? Get togethers to watch sporting events together.
If he is seeking knowledge, wouldn’t it be great if he could join a district group that discussed the Seven Liberal Arts. Maybe join a group of guys willing to teach a skill they have, smoking meats, home brew, mechanics, or carpentry. A group that discussed a different famous Mason each month.
If he is interested in the ritual a garage lodge where Brothers meet informally to practice and learn the beauty of our ritual and laugh and share in brotherly love would be a great opportunity.
We are Masons each and every day not just in lodge. Let us broaden our vision to meeting outside of lodge. Letting the world catching us doing good. They are coming. Keeping them will be work. We must to be willing to mentor, befriend, and provide both motive and opportunity. It will be worth it. Afterall someone did it for us.
Masonry is alive and well in Wisconsin. New men and new opportunities meeting and joining with tradition and history. Keep up the good work. On Wisconsin Freemasonry!