The movie Office Space has many memorable lines. Perhaps no other is more germane to topic of Lodge Revitalization than “it’s not that I am lazy; it’s that I don’t care”. There is much conversation about what is needed to revitalize Masonic Lodges, retain membership, and move towards a new Golden Age. Frankly, I’m kind of sick of it.
Revitalizing a Lodge starts and ends with an empowered, impassioned, and wise community of Masons.
We’ve all sat through numerous discussions of this topic. We’ve all liberated this idea or that idea. We’ve all participated in this committee or that. We’ve all followed this Masonic Renewal Organization, or that. All of this is meant to bring about an empowered, impassioned, and wise community of Masons. And yet each never quite gets off the ground. They never quite fit your organization, or your needs, and so they simply add to the weight, the budget, and the tedium without any benefit to the Lodge, or its membership.
So here it is. I am giving you the answer, a list of all you need to know about organizational and generational motivation; and thus a revitalized Lodge. It is open source. It is free. It is simple. It works. Do with it as you please. Create derivations and solutions unique to your Masonic Community. It is a simple list. Devoid of elaborate explanation. I have purposefully avoided laying out specific activities, or details, or goals because frankly this approach is part of the problem. The paradigm itself is flawed.
So, here are the three essential traits Lodges need to cultivate in each Brother, to achieve success, develop passion, and energy with their organization. At least, in my not so humble opinion.
Autonomy: Empower each Mason in Lodge, the minute they are initiated, to apply their unique talents and skills to meet the goals and objectives of the Lodge; give them the autonomy to determine how to deliver these results. Set them on a clear course, utilizing each degree to open more vistas of responsibility, and self-directed effort. If you need to create a goal for them – do so. Create an ad-hoc committee of one. In short, the ability to direct the course of one’s own life.
Mastery: To be duly and truly prepared, worthy and well qualified, Brothers most have demonstrated an inclination to learn beyond the basic requirements of Masonic education, and degree proficiency. Structure lodge leadership, committees (stated and ad hoc) to provide continuous learning and elevation of skills in Masonic Ritual, History, Philosophy, Leadership, Administration, Teaching, etc… In short, the overarching desire for people to improve themselves, gain experience, and get better at what they enjoy.
Purpose: Ideally, your Lodge has a clear sense of purpose that is communicated to all Brothers. Now, this one requires some elaboration. Purpose is not a mission statement. Purpose is a mantra. Let me give you an example, the mission statement for Nike, will no doubt talk about synergizing profits through… I’ve lost you already. Their mantra however is much clearer: authentic athletic performance. Everyone one in the company is focused on this mantra. Ask the janitor, the receptionist, or the ceo what they do for a living: authentic athletic performance. Everything they do contributes to that purpose of authentic athletic performance. If your Lodge has a mission statement, burn it. Get a mantra. Get everyone contributing their self-directed autonomy in a way that fulfills to the shared purpose, and allows them to develop their Masonic Mastery. In short, purpose is the reason why you do something. Doing tasks to make someone’s life better, to make the world a better place, and to clearly understand that vision.
So, how does this work. Go to your Lodge, and make it happen. Find a purpose – best ritual lodge, best educational lodge, best whatever. Find it. Next, start looking around your Lodge for the needed talents. Bring them together. Evangelize your idea. Inspire them. Catalyze passion. Don’t make a motion. Don’t try for executive buy out. Just do it! You don’t need a gavel to make this change. The most powerful instrument of change in your Lodge is the Petition!