Candidates are the greatest gift and responsibility... How to keep them

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Bloke, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Candidates are the greatest gift and responsibility a Lodge can have.

    That's how my lodges think...

    What successful strategies do you use to make sure they are still with you in 5 years time ? Think of guys who were initiated 5 years ago, and are now MM's and still attending or better yet, are in office . What happened in their journey and growth that saw them stay and was that a conscious systematized approach on their or your lodges behalf ? Was it a communicated plan to all, a conscious shaping of your culture, or simply the actions of one or two members which held them?

    CAUTION - dont reply with what you think might work. Don't reply with what you are doing... Reply with what actually got results measured against people you can point to who are still sitting in lodge.
     
  2. GrandJojo

    GrandJojo Registered User

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    At the Lodge Level:
    Implementation of a mentoring program - just started
    Try to get EAs involved in ritual or administrative tasks asap - just started

    At the Grand lodge Level:
    Seminars for EAs - starting next year

    too soon to publish results
     
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  3. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    I'm my Lodge's newest MM, and the first one in a long time (about 7 years). I've read on these boards and elsewhere that in some jurisdictions, new EAs are not allowed to attend Lodge meetings until they are a full MM. I think this is a huge mistake. Huge. Here, we can open Lodge in any degree. A practice that is becoming more and more accepted and utilized.

    Speaking personally, I probably would've walked away had I not been able to feel like I was a member. Sure, it's just a reading of minutes and watching others vote (because you can't), but there's a sense of belonging and going through the motions that would be sorely missed otherwise.
     
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  4. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I am in two lodges. There are 2 members who are members of both and these act as a conduit to cross fertilize. We've been watching the success at these lodges with new candidates. One has always been good at it, the other initiated a lot of guys but did not hold them all. We are trying to apply lessons learned at both lodges over a considerable period of time... We're generally initiating young (25-40) year olds, and the main reason we loose them at my mother lodges is... wait for it.. because they move interstate. (Not all who have done so continue in the Craft).

    The below all sound so simple but are so important. They're also so easy to do.

    Step 1, be welcoming and friendly. Train all members,especially the SW and JW to approach any man alone in the festive board and talk to them, bring them into conversations. If a someone is alone in the festive board and not being engaged in conversation - your lodge is failing.

    Step 2, success in all things in the lodge are the responsibility of each and every member. That might be through direct action, bringing a problem to someone elses notice, but we all "own" the lodge and have a responsibility not to damage it, but to nurture and grow it. As BROTHERS, we all have a responsibility to earn that title daily through concern for members and their family.. Candidates are one of the most important assets we have and it's easy to taken them for granted, especially if you have a good supply of them, doing that hurts the candidates and it hurts the lodges.

    Step 3, invite potential candidates to dinner several times, preferably before they are proposed - see step 1.
    Stgep 3a - last guy I proposed came to a dinner over 3 years ago. It was not a "masonic" function, just a bunch of guys with their wives/partners out to dinner (my partner wanted to eat a banquet and we wanted numbers to do it LOL). We were several hours in and outside smoking before the men realized all bar one was a brother...

    Step 4, call members between meetings (it is6:20 pm here and I've spoken to 6 members (plus one wife, an important part of our "lodge family") on the phone today. (No, I am note retired, but own my own business). The most important working tool omitted from our ritual is the telephone. Use it well, use it often, use it to build relationships and caring between members. Suggest to one member that they call another. Foster communication.

    Step 5, get new members involved, make them feel valued, make them feel like part of a community. Ritual ? Yes, one way, but an EA or FC is at best months away from ritual, so, even better, invite them out to dinner. Go to the pub for a drink with a few members (you don't have to invite the whole lodge).

    Step 6, observe them. If you see something they dont like or understand, empathize, teach patience and educate. Listen to their suggestions

    Step 7, ask them what they want out of Freemasonry and try to facilitate them getting it (one FC wants to master public speaking, he gave a toast at one of our last meetings).


    Step 8, if their partners are coming to a function, walk over broken glass to make sure they have a good time. See step 1. DO NOT invite ladies, then leave them unattended while a lodge meeting takes place. DO NOT try to combine a lady's/family night and degrees (they often come in the one car). Try to facilitate friendships with new members and their partners through dinners in restaurants, small groups of 2-6 members in a venue suiting their budgets.

    Step 9, encourage them to participate in ritual. Even if they dont want to deliver charges, help them appreciate it by explaining it and encouraging them to LISTEN then ask questions about it.

    Step 10, give them some advice - a) listen to the ritual, it brings new things even after decades of doing that, b) keep asking questions through their entire time in freemasonry, c) teach them the importance of step 1.

    Step 11, try to give them a sense of success - by preparing them for their degrees in a friendly and patient way.

    Step 12, turn them into the future leaders of your lodge.

    Step 13, always talk your lodge up. Always talk the Craft up.

    Step 14 NEVER NEVER allow anything which makes their partners form a bad impression of the Craft

    (oh, and we open here in First Degree, so EAs are there AND have full voting rights. They pay dues. They are also required to attend Masonic Education Program ("MAP" after each degree. They cannot be advanced unless they have attended. They also must wait no less than 12 weeks before doing their 2nd, hey must wait not less than 52 weeks after initiation before doing their Third - these all help but I have not included then as they are from GL and not our local plan).

    Finally, remember most importantly you are creating a social group. Friendships are not built by meeting once a month. Look for activities OUTSIDE lodge they want to participate in. That will mean dinners or going to the pub. That does not mean trying to get the whole lodge together but connecting people (and partners who will mesh well.. Listen to what new members want and try to deliver it AND be seen prioritizing their wants (without allowing new guys to hold a lodge to ransom, stomp on that and manage those guys out, they will be disruptive, but if they are in, you're vetting process is broken.).

    Don't go for numbers, go for quality, being a small lodge, one to two candidates a year who stick are enough to perpetuate our warrant, our history and our lodge. Remember it's not initiations but retention and developing leaders which will secure your future. That starts the moment you meet them and in every contact you have with them.
     
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  5. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Regrettably that is true.

    Prior to 1717 I am not sure that was the case. Back then there seemed to be much more drive to uncover the hidden mysteries of nature and science.

    But in 30 years of craft Masonry I have met only one brother who was determined to penetrate the work of the FC.
     
  6. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Of all that is mentioned here, I would say that seminars, if kept interesting, educational and life benefiting, would have the greatest impact. However, if they are all about how an EA can become a better member, rather than a better man, you're going to lose them fairly quickly. If these seminars are going to be self-serving to the organization, EAs are going to pick up on that and leave. They MUST serve the members' betterment as men first and foremost.
     
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  7. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

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    Why? What's the Reason?
     
  8. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    I don't know. As I said, in Ohio, we can open Lodge in any degree, and I was encouraged to attend any and all meetings. When I was an EA, they went through the EA motions. When I was a FC, Lodge was opened in the FC degree. For those jurisdictions who only allow MMs to attend, I assume the logic is that person is not a full member, and not entitled to the benefits thereof, which includes voting and suggesting/carrying a motion, etc. I was not allowed to do those things, either. I was just filling a seat.

    Was it boring? Yes, it was. There's nothing exciting about reading minutes or voting to pay the bills, unless you're a masochist. BUT...

    I learned how meetings are run. I learned when to sit and stand, and learned the cadence. I learned how the chairs address each other and how to address the WM. I got to practice the signs and grips. Most importantly, I felt like I belonged. I felt like I was coming up through the ranks and not cast aside until I was a MM.
     
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  9. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

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    Thank you! :):):)

    One Russian Freemason told me, on the forum, the explanation sth. like:
    "You cannot attend higher degrees cause -- it's like in university/school, when you are in 1'st class you'll not understand -- Knowledge -- given
    in 2'nd". :):rolleyes:
    But, I found that reason not persuasive, cause in university, you can enter lessons in any level. First or last. As you wish.
     
  10. Classical

    Classical Premium Member

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    In your opinion.
    Let's be upfront here: The meaning that a man derives from a degree is as meaningful to him as your meaning is to you. It's prideful to think your meanings are more important or somehow deeper than another's.
    In my opinion.
     
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  11. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    So we can't use the working tools in a moral sense after all?
     
  12. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    No_thats-not-true-thats-impossibl-J5n6.jpg
     
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  13. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Opening business meetings in the EA degree is the worldwide standard. It is now common in most but not all US jurisdictions.

    In the US all jurisdictions switched to business meetings in the MM degree in 1840 because at the time the Anti Mason political movement was in full swing. That's the historical reason.

    The current reason is "That's how we have always done it". There is a great deal of comfort in local traditions that have been in place longer than any current member has been alive.
     
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  14. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Yup, but the covert reason is this: If the EAs saw how boring most USA business meetings are, they would soon lose interest in continuing to work so hard for an end 1) that offered so little, 2) that was ultimately unfulfilling and 3) bored the life out of them. This rule is to protect the "organization" from losing members earlier and the revenue that represents; it is not to protect the Craft.
     
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  15. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    ALL very true.
     
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