Most of you either hold membership in or know of a lodge that is just barely crawling along. A close friend and Brother messaged me the other day saying his lodge was going to fold. I was unsure if this was sentimental or if the proverbial train had actually been set in motion. He continued with the explanation that last week he sat in the lodge all alone at the time they had scheduled ritual practice. On its own, this is not a red flag but not surprisingly the same brother attended their annual Lodge Holiday Party with only 2 other families present. This called to mind an exercise I recently sent around to our own upcoming officers. As this situation is not at all unique to one or two lodges I would like to share the exercise for each of you to reflect.
What I am about to describe is in no way a reflection of my thoughts on the future leadership as I think the world of the men who will take over; it's simply an exercise. Our Annual Stated Meeting and Elections will take place in just over 10 days (no, I am not counting…). Those who are elected will be installed some time before our January Stated Meeting. I asked these leaders to consider hypothetically that no one shows up to the January stated except the 3 principal officers. I then asked them to reflect on the following questions:
- Who are the first people you call to ensure that they come to February Stated? Think about if that list contains the most critical people for the future success of the Lodge or if you are calling them because they will be the easiest to convince. This is rhetorical; I am not looking for a response per se.
- How do you plan for February to entice those Brothers to come?
Of course, I neither hope nor expect this to happen. However, I find these to be important questions if we are truly creating a membership-centric plan. We should have an idea of who are most critical to the success of the lodge. While all brothers are equal, I often see an imbalance of brothers providing support only in a few specific areas. Basic supply and demand would suggest that if the there are gaps left by this imbalance--internet/social media work, communications, youth, or education (all real examples in my lodge)--then for the lodge plan to succeed, brethren who can fill those gaps are in higher demand.
Think about what tasks are most critical to the success of the lodge plan. Be cognizant that some of the easiest Brethren to motivate to attend may not be as critical to the lodge plan when it comes to ensuring that fundraisers actually raise funds or the needs of new members are met in order to maintain their participation. My lodge is flush with men able and willing to cook but when it comes to some of the nuts and bolts of a fundraiser, we are void of men interested in promoting any of the functions we have. It's not that I love or value the cooks any less but I recognize that someone executing on the other functions would make a massive difference to a fundraiser.
- Identify where the lodge has gaps in what needs to get done
- Identify brothers with those talents
- Identify ways to attract the interests of those brothers
WB Scott S. Dueball is the Worshipful Master of D.C. Cregier Lodge No. 81 in Wheeling, IL and holds a dual membership in Denver Lodge No. 5 in Denver, CO. He currently serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois as the State Education Officer. Scott is also a member of the Palatine York Rite bodies and the Valley of Chicago A.A.S.R.-N.M.J. He is passionate about the development of young masons, strategy and visioning for Lodges. He can be reached at SEO@ilmason.org