If you take a few minutes and do some searching or ask another Brother what they think the issue is with the declining membership of our fraternity they will typically give you something similar to one of the following.
“We need more members! We need to get more men through the door!”
“We need education programs, something interesting to listen to or discuss at a meeting.”
Now, I will admit both are coming from a good place. Yes we could always use more men coming through the door and yes, we could do with more programs to make the meetings more enjoyable. However, there is another aspect of our membership that often gets overlooked,
Those that haven’t completed their degrees.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute. I’m talking about those that have come forward taken their first and possibly second degree and then stopped.
In looking at the numbers from my own Lodge I’m starting to see an alarming trend that shows while we can initiate new members there appears to be growing gap between those that start and those that finish their degrees. I’m willing to bet that ours is not the only one with such a growing list.
Why is that? I think it’s something that every Lodge needs to investigate. We need to reach out to those in this state and find out why they stopped.
- Is it the required memorization?
- Is it a perceived lack of time?
- Is it because there’s a difference between what they want and what we offered?
- Is there an issue with their mentor?
The above list is just a start. I’m sure a brainstorming session could result is a listing much more exhaustive and comprehensive – the point is to start the conversation.
Not every man who begins the journey will complete it and we need to respect that, but before we worry about keeping him active as a Master Mason we should make sure we can keep him, so that he becomes one.