Needing advice

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by JJones, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello brothers!

    I'm the Junior Warden at our lodge which seems to have about 10 active members out of about 80 total dues paying members (which I think is good from what I hear from time to time). I'd like to try and renew interest among our current membership by introducing some presentations and lessons on masonic history and symbolism however our stating meetings can draw out for quite some time as it is already.

    For example, it's not unusual for a stated meeting to begin around 7:15 and continue on until it's near 10PM. While I personally feel it's a good thing that our lodge is active enough to discuss business for 3 hours I also find myself wondering if these long meetings centered on discussing mundane things might be somewhat...boring to some people.

    I've read several posts and articles on this website which seem to have several good ideas to get people's interest yet I'm still unsure how to actually fit time into a lodge meeting to give an interesting presentation or lesson.

    What I'm hoping for is advice on how to condense the business end of our meeting. I've also read somewhere on this website that, if I understood correctly, mentions approving previous minutes without them having to be read, which could shave off about 5-10 minutes right there. If anyone could point me in the right direction or show me where to look for information it'd be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    The best advice that I can give you is curtail the sideline chatter & non business discussion. Stick to the standard meeting flow and function.

    My home Lodge's Stated meetings thus far this year have been no longer than 45-60 minutes, the longer including voting on petitions & DDGM's presentation. Included into these meetings is a standard educational / history moment just prior to closing & full reading of the minutes from the previous meetings (1-6 total on average).

    It can all be done in less than 3 hours & with 3 times as many members present!
     
  3. Preston DuBose

    Preston DuBose Registered User

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    We have roughly the same number of active members and our meetings run closer to 1.5-2 hours. A good 15 minutes at the end are spent relaying information about upcoming masonic activities in the area. I can't imagine what business would take 10 members three hours. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say every decision is being discussed ad nauseam. At least, we are sometimes guilty of that. Ideally if it's not something the W.M. can quickly decide on the spot, he should create a committee to investigate the issue and have report back with a recommendation at the following meeting. Then the group can vote to accept the committee's recommendation and move on--hopefully with minimal discussion.
     
  4. Brother Jason Eddy

    Brother Jason Eddy Registered User

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    In my lodge we have a stated business meeting each month (1st Thursday) and a non-business meeting (2nd Thursday). All of the mundane is usually talked in the business meeting. This frees up time to do almost anything in the second meeting. Does your lodge do something similar? If so, what you might see is increased attendance at the second meeting :) There are plenty of people on this and other forums that can help with ideas about presentations. Let me know if I can help in any way. I am trying to do the same in my lodge and finally made it onto the docket for next month when I will read a paper that I wrote about my initiation experience.....

    S&F

    Jason
     
  5. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    We have one stated meeting each month and that's usually where all the business gets handled that ends up taking so long. I haven't thought of the idea of having more than one meeting and designating them as business or non-business...that's an interesting idea. So you essentially have two stated meetings a month?

    Thanks everyone for all the replies so far, I appreciate everything I'm hearing here. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  6. Brother Jason Eddy

    Brother Jason Eddy Registered User

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    Yes. We do all of our business in the first meeting. Our second meeting is for degree work or whatever else we have to do....works out nice...
     
  7. Tony Siciliano

    Tony Siciliano Premium Member

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    My lodge is pretty active: States Communications 1st and 3rd Tuesday; Emergent Communications 2nd and 4th (as required).

    Our Stated Comms usually run about 1:15 - 1:30. We pass all the info for upcoming events, talk about what's new at other lodges (5 total in the county).

    Heck, the opening and closing is 20 mins just by themselves...

    I guess the thing to remember is that the States Comms are the business meetings. Stick to business, and leave all the other stuff to Emergent Comms.
     
  8. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Have you considered posting your lodge minutes on your lodge website? You could also prepare a hard copy, and distribute it to the members as they arrive. Then just have a motion, does anyone have any objection to the dues being approved? If no one dissents, then have the WM decree that the minutes are approved "without objection".

    Have you considered a "Rusty Nail Night"? It is a "fun" degree, designed to stimulate interest in your less active members.

    http://www.glne.org/pdf/RustyNail.doc

    Here is how the program works:

    Get a list of all of your less active members.

    Prepare a written invitation, send it in the US Mail. E-Mail all of the invitees as well. Telephone each invitee as well. Offer to arrange transportation, if anyone needs it.

    When the participants arrive, greet each one individually. Have "stick-on" name tags prepared.

    Feed a meal, do the degree, recognize each one individually.

    Do a SHORT program on what your lodge has been doing the last several months. Focus on the FUTURE, tell them what your lodge will be doing, how many men you will be intiating, what types of programs your stated meetings will have. Will you be doing anything interesting or unusual, like an outdoor MM degree, or a visit from the Grand Master.

    Make each invitee feel SPECIAL, and that the lodge misses them.

    When the meeting is concluded, have the WM shake each man's hand, and thank them for attending. Be sure to get all of their contact information, email, postal address, phone, etc. updated.

    Send each invitee a "thank-you" note, and invite them back for the next stated meeting.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011

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