Many "new" ideas are being tried in lodges and grand lodges to increase membership, but there is one main thing that individual lodges must do to attract members, either new masons or affiliations: The lodge must be interesting. A lodge with dead meetings is just dead. If the principles set out on the other pages of this site are followed, the lodge will attract new members through initiation and affiliation because of the enjoyment experienced by its members.
Nevertheless, there is a great way to get new men into the lodge if the lodge is already interesting and fun. These prospective members somehow must be placed physically in the lodge building. Either through an open activity where friends of masons are invited to attend or, even better, through participation of their relatives in masonic activities such as the Rainbow Girls.
When a friend sees the fun at a lodge activity, he will get an impression that will be great for attracting him to membership. But when a man sees his daughter or son living a great life and having good friends in a wholesome environment, he is sold on masonry. And often more important, his wife is sold on masonry.
Sponsoring more than one youth organization may be too much for one lodge to handle. The lodge should pick one youth activity and truly work with it and for it. The more participation of lodge members in the organization, the more likely it is to attract new young members. Youth groups never suffer from too many adults participating, only from too few.
And get these teenagers involved in other lodge activities. They can be servers at "Ladies Night" or have a special place at lodge fundraisers to sell their homebaked cookies. Have Rainbow Girl or DeMolay awards banquets on the same night as lodge night and make it an official, but open, lodge meeting. Get those non-masonic moms and dads into the lodge.
Once you have the man in the lodge, you can show him how much fun it is, but once you have his child in the lodge, he already knows how great it is.
Bro J. R. Martin, MPS, Houston, Texas
Here are some great ideas from Richard W. Decker, PM, PJGW Grand Lodge of Hawaii, PM, PDDGM, PSGM
Grand Lodge of New Jersey:
The Kona Masonic Renewal Plan
By Richard W. Decker, March 2001
The problem of attendance and health of the Masonic Lodge has become a
crisis for the fraternity, not just in Hawaii, but throughout the
American Grand Lodges. As one looks at the problem, certain elements of
the problem stand out and, with serious thought and effort, can and
should be changed.
Problem No. 1. One of the first elements that needs to be addressed is
the problem of bringing new men into the fraternity. With the
restrictions as interpreted in the Masonic ritual shows, we cannot ask a
man to join with us, it can only be hinted. A new interpretation of this
restriction should be developed that will permit our asking one whom we
feel is qualified to be a member of the order to be asked to become a
Mason. If we can see in our hearts that this is the problem that
restricts us from growing and remaining a force for good, then it must be
changed. Because that we say that a man must first be made a Mason in his
heart, we have interpreted this to mean that we cannot ask but must wait
to have a man made a Mason in his heart and he must do the asking.
If we, as individuals, feel that a man is of the character and type that
we want as a member of our lodge, why can’t we suggest to him that he
could become a Mason and believe that he would find kindred souls among
the fellowship of your lodge. Require him to think about it, to ponder
and ask questions, to discuss with others including his wife and family,
of the rightness of his becoming a member of the Masonic fraternity. Let
him become a Mason in his heart - after he has been asked to consider
membership in your lodge. This kind of approach to the problem of
bringing in new members could become a great help in the furtherance of
the health and well being of the lodge.
Problem No. 2. . One of the most important problems we face is the
retention of our present membership. Why are we not retaining our
members, keeping them interested and attending their lodges and
participating in the lodge’s programs? This is the most important area of
renewal that we could consider.
How often do any of the officers who are responsible for the health of
the lodge, visit or at least call absent brothers? Being in touch with
all members of the lodge should be essential, and not with just the
monthly mailing of the trestleboard - though this is a very important
tool. Personal visits, letters and/or phone calls can be of infinite
value to the lodge. It would seem that this should be a responsibility of
the Master and Wardens, particularly the Wardens, so that they can get to
know the members of the lodge. Older Masons who cannot drive at night,
should be able to be picked up and brought to lodge so that they can
retain their interest.
Problem No. 3. A clear and comprehensive program that is geared to the
interest of all men is an imperative and should be the reason why the
personal touch with the members is important to be sure that all are well
acquainted with the program and given a chance to be active.
Gleanings from successful programs that are going on in different lodges
around the country is an easy way to find a program or programs that a
lodge could use. There are no copy rights on any program that is being
used by any particular lodge. We are free to copy any that we feel would
be good for our own lodge and which would be of interest to our
Problem No. 4. Ritual is a necessary part of the Masonic life. It cannot
be ignored, but we can innovate some differences in rendering the ritual
A lodge should have teams of members that are interested in ritual and be
prepared and ready to perform their part of ritual. Not just the officers
holding a particular position, but a ritualist can be called on to take
part whenever a degree is to be performed. The lodge officers would have
to be able to open and close their lodge and the Master and Wardens
should be prepared to conduct meetings and to activate the programs that
the lodge is currently working toward. It would always be the Master of
the lodge that would conduct the meetings and he could do whatever part
of the ritual he wished to perform in the degrees. It is still his lodge.
Problem No. 5. Let us tell the world what we are doing and what part we
play in the daily life of our community. A member of the lodge could be
designated as the liaison with the local newspapers, radio stations or
t.v. stations or any other method of getting out the word. There is no
reason why we cannot tell the world that Mr. Toby A. Mason has made
application to our lodge and that he is looking forward to becoming a
part of this great and world’s oldest fraternity. He will be receiving
his degrees in our lodge on a specific date and invite all Masons to come
and participate in this important occasion. An announcement of upcoming
programs or charitable events or dates for the community blood bank, a
childrens’ I.D. program, or whatever the lodge is sponsoring, should be
included in the duties of the communications officer of the lodge. How
else do we tell our community that we are here and are an organization
operating for the good of all?
Once again, if you have a lodge that is going fine without these changes, GREAT! We want to hear from you and, perhaps to include your ideas in our next revision. Please contact the website editor by clicking HERE.