Membership and participation in Freemasonry today

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by amhdive, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. amhdive

    amhdive Registered User

    25
    6
    3
    The lack of membership and participation is one of the things I think most lodges are faced with today. It has such a profound impact on the future of Masonry, the workings of the lodge, movement of the line and the funding stream. I'm curious how your lodges are approaching it, what new and creative ideas you may have?

    Thank You,




    My Freemasonry HD
     
  2. Zack

    Zack Registered User

    310
    133
    43
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    I have no "new and creative ideas". Remember the ones already tried...one day classes, no catechisms, forgiveness of back dues, a general lowering of standards, etc, etc, etc.

    Neither am I particularly worried about the lack of numbers. I think that the great influx of members after WW2 thru the 60's, the Golden Age as some refer to it, was an anomaly that did not do Freemasonry any great favor in the long run. That is why we are faced with budgets that can't be met and buildings we can't maintain and GLs we can no longer afford. I think the membership is coming back to where it always should have been. As hard as it may be, Freemasonry is going to have to adjust.

    I was concerned with these "problems", but no longer. I have decided to enjoy my Masonic participation. I show-up and do my part. If a few Brothers show up that is great and enjoyable. If not.... I refuse to let others rain on my parade.


    My opinion only.
     
  3. Brother_Steve

    Brother_Steve Premium Member

    876
    478
    83
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    It is on the shoulders of the members and the Worshipful Master equally.

    The sitting WM has to feel the brethren are willing to come to lodge and the brethren expect magic every time they attend lodge.

    There has to be a middle ground or an understanding. The W.M. doing his part with the help of his two Wardens and the brethren doing their part by attempting to make the meetings to see what has been prepared. Even if phone calls or emails have to go out to notify members of a guest speaker ETC.
     
  4. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    1,137
    255
    103
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    Masonry has been losing members for many years. Most Masons do not see this as a problem, and do not wish to discuss it. "Beating it to death", is what I usually hear.
     
  5. streeter

    streeter Registered User

    52
    13
    8
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    hello,

    this is a serious subject and we need to deal with it...
    I have authored a book that directly addresses this issue and I invite you to explore the website...
    the work is of course one man's personal opinion - and that is all it really is - an opinion - but you might find it interesting - hope so...

    kindly,

    Robert Streeter.
     
  6. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    1,137
    255
    103
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    Check out this link

    http://msana.com/msastats.asp

    When I try to tell Masons about the decline in membership, most people respond "There is no problem, my lodge had three new EAs last year". No one wants to discuss the reality.
     
  7. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

    485
    62
    28
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    Membership numbers are not an issue. Truly. The issues are things like Lodge buildings that were designed to house much larger numbers than they currently do, Lodge buildings whose maintenance has been neglected to the point that effective repairs are ruinously expensive, a dues structure that has not kept up with inflation, let alone the disproportionately large expense of maintaining big, old Lodge buildings, etc. You get the idea.

    Our labor can be done with a handful of Masons. If that work is done properly, the membership, buildings, etc. will take care of itself.
     
  8. Zack

    Zack Registered User

    310
    133
    43
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    We do not have a membership problem.
    We have a retention problem.
    My jurisdiction loses more members every year due to non payment of dues than to death.
     
  9. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    1,146
    621
    113
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    "There is nothing new under the sun". I believe this was said several thousand years ago so it can only ring more true today.

    What's funny is all these shortcuts we've introduced to gain more membership hasn't had much impact on anything aside from lowering the quality of the initiatic experiences for incoming masons. That being said, I'm aware of programs being implemented that have been very successful but they don't involve anything new...in fact all they really do is get back to the basics and traditions of Freemasonry.

    So I suppose the answer is that if you want to attract new members and retain them, offer them something more traditional. Focus lodge efforts less on fundraisers and more on education and creating a memorable experience for everyone.
     
  10. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

    589
    236
    63
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    "Build it they will come " Masons must be like part of a building that has not been finished but those watching know it is going to be something
    And want to get involved , my next step in this great undertaking will be to get healed and therefore ever afterwards to serve H.I.M.


    My Freemasonry HD
     
    Warrior1256 likes this.
  11. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

    1,417
    9
    58
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    I do not believe we can "fix" masonry and it's membership woes the craft is made to fix us not vice versa.
     
  12. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    5,675
    1,026
    113
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    http://www.myfreemasonry.com/showthread.php/17849-45-Ways-To-Improve-Lodge-Attendance?
     
  13. Zaden

    Zaden Registered User

    95
    15
    18
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    Brother,

    As it appears to be an acronym I do not know could you elaborate on "H.I.M."?

    Fraternally,
    WH
     
  14. brother josh

    brother josh Registered User

    305
    30
    28
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    There is a lodge right now in ky that has 120 members and I would say 7-10 show up on a meeting night and I can't say that I blame them u go through the whole initiation process that is so awesome then u become a MM and now all we do is discuss bills breakfast and dinner for the next meeting and I get that as well I know u gotta pay bills and u have to do stuff to keep the lodge running and in the publics eye but when we as masons meet in our secret chambers the younger crowd wants to learn MASONRY education during the meeting should be required but I'm a no body so take what I say with a grain of salt


    My Freemasonry
     
  15. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

    1,598
    380
    103
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    You may think yourself a nobody without a voice, but you speak the truth brother, make no mistake. A lot of lone voices make for a pretty loud roar.
     
  16. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

    589
    236
    63
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    His Imperial Majesty!!!


    My Freemasonry
     
  17. amhdive

    amhdive Registered User

    25
    6
    3
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    Shortly after I posted this question I had the opportunity to sit with our Grand Master and he challenged us to form a group of Masons 40 and under to discuss this topic. He thinks this group may be able to find ways to connect with the newer generations and may bring some fresh and new perspectives. Let them run as long as they stay in the boundaries of our tenants.

    It appear so many of us face the same issues with membership, education and managing the business side of the house.


    My Freemasonry
     
  18. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    3,935
    2,393
    133
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    There are separate issues that need to be treated as such -

    1) There was a golden age of fraternities that ended around 1960s. During peak large facilities were constructed on the assumption the peak would never end. It did end. Membership is now approaching a more reasonable level but it's not large enough to maintain those large facilities. This point says our facilities are in trouble but Masonry is not. We're just riding out the result of a bubble.

    2) There is a century long swing in popularity up and down. We are now again in an upswing. Point 1 above says that the previous upswing was a very large one so these two points are not in conflict. Point 1 is about the previous upswing. Point 2 is about the trends across several centuries. We can expect the number of petitioners to grow faster than many lodges can handle, but also slower than is needed by the lodges that are in the worst trouble. This point says some of our lodges are thriving and will continue to do so, some of our lodges are dying and will continue to do so and this is to be expected. The trend is long enough that 50 year Masons have seen us in decline their entire time. Now 0-year Masons will eventually be 50-year Masons who will see us in growth their entire time. The perception of decline is because of the long time scale of the cycle and the excessive size of the previous high point.

    3) Each generation or century saw Masonry focus on something different. In the 1700s it was a mixture of mystical systems, then a focus on social connections. In the 1800s we faced the anti-Masonic movement and emerged from it focusing on financial charities and service. Near the turn of the centuries there was a movement against drink plus political activism to push public schools paid for by taxes. Between the wars it was building social events. The trend of Masonry as a social club peaked about the time our oldest members petitioned.

    So what's the focus of the next generation and next century? That's your question. It's not "How to build membership" because we are already seeing young men petition in droves. It's "how to keep them attending when it's not a social club they are looking for".

    I'm Darwinian about it. Every lodge should try something different. Watch what lodges thrive. Imitate them.
     
  19. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    1,146
    621
    113
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    I'm probably sticking my nose where it doesn't belong...but I'm in the '40 and under' crowd and would be glad to share my thoughts if you're ever interested. Granted, I think many folks here know where I stand on several ideas already. :p

    Yep, the members are coming but we don't have the retention. I think in many cases this is because lodges aren't offering the kind of Freemasonry they are looking for. I can join the Elks Lodge or Lion's Club if I want to fry fish.

    I agree about the Darwinian aspect as well. Lodges should have a bit of freedom to get creative...within reason and without changing the ritual.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  20. Zaden

    Zaden Registered User

    95
    15
    18
    Re: Membership and participation in Freemasonry to

    Thank you, brother.
     

Share My Freemasonry