Greetings from the EastDuring my service as a Grand Lodge officer I have had the opportunity to visit and to observe a number of Lodges in Nebraska, and other places. In general, I have separated the lodges into two categories:
First, there are the lodges, large and small, that are energized, exciting and fun. They are in small towns and large cities, east and west. They tend to fare better than most on retaining members and occasionally adding new Master Masons. Usually they raise their own members with degrees performed in their own lodge premises, either with or without assistance of visiting brothers to help with the lectures or degree cast.
Second, there are the other lodges, that don’t appear to be energized, exciting nor fun. Regardless of the size of their community, about all they do is have stated meetings. Sometimes they don’t even have stated meetings, rarely open, can’t find a quorum, and don’t have many other functions for their members. They just lament how “our members just don’t seem to want to attend or participate anymore.” Typically, these lodges RARELY conduct degrees, don’t have new members, suspend inactive members each year, and continue to decrease their membership, from deaths and NPDs, at a rate of about 5% per year, sometimes more rapidly.
So, I asked myself, what causes a lodge to fall into group two, as opposed to the former group? Why are some lodges in obvious decline and others are not? I believe it has nothing to do with the size of the community, nor the religious affiliations of the townsfolk, nor the local economy. It seems to me it is solely whether the lodge in question has a spark of energy.
As Grand Master this year, one of my principal goals is to help lodges increase their activity levels. I am convinced that your lodge will increase its membership, its activity level, its community image and relevance, and its members will enjoy the benefits of belonging to our fraternity, if YOU and your brothers increase the energy level of your lodge. How? Here are some suggestions:
- 1. Come to Annual Communication in February, 2018 to see a few ideas you can duplicate in your lodge. On Thursday evening we will have a Lodge of Military Tribute during the Grand Master’s banquet. The purpose is twofold: We want to honor our Veterans, and we want to show you something your lodge can do in your community that will be good, and will increase your lodge’s visibility and stature in the community. On Friday evening, at the membership banquet, we will present a program with pictures and a story of the great benefits to be obtained by visiting lodges in our state, presented by two brothers who accompanied me on the Grand Master’s Road Trip.
- 2. Have a meal before stated meetings. Have dessert after the meetings. Ask the GM to come eat with you!
- 3. Have a discussion group after the stated meeting--discuss the Masonic education flyer for the month, a topic of community interest, or any other topic on which members might have an opinion. The discourse among members is a pleasant experience.
- 4. Have a meal to honor the town’s teachers, or veterans, or town government leaders. Don’t be satisfied when no one knows your lodge exists in your community.
- 5. Sponsor a youth group (Demolay, Job’s or Rainbow). Do something to reach out to the town-adopt a school and have a program that will help that school.
- 6. Have an awards night to present scholarships, and invite the parents. You are likely giving out band camp and other scholarships, but why not spread the publicity with an awards night event?
- 7. ASK the newer members what they would like to do and ENCOURAGE the activities they suggest, rather than tell them it never worked when it was tried before – they weren’t there helping then.
- 8. Go the Grand Lodge web site, www.glne. org, look at Secretary’s Resources, Forms and Publications, and go to “100 Ideas for Member Recruitment and Retention.” IMPLEMENT a few of these ideas you haven’t experienced in your lodge before.
- 9. Quit trying to find someone to fill the leadership positions in your lodge for a year or two and work on finding someone to be Junior Deacon and make a five-year commitment to finish the line. It is so hard for your lodge to move forward without some consistency of leadership and direction over a period of several years.
- 10. Communicate to your members what you are doing with their dues. Advertise your CHIP participation, scholarships, contributions to the Masonic-Eastern Star Home for Children in Fremont and The Nebraska Masonic Home in Plattsmouth.
- 11. BECOME one of the people who start inserting energy and activity in your lodge. Don’t just be a member who pays dues but never gets involved. Don’t you want to belong to a lodge that is invigorating, relevant and pleasant? MAKE IT SO! Find some brothers and work together. Ask the Grand Lodge for help! Visit successful lodges and steal their ideas! BECOME ONE OF THE SPARKS OF ENERGY TO IGNITE SUCCESS.
You can call on the brothers of Renaissance Lodge No. 334, or the Grand Lodge Membership Committee, if you would like help with a retention or a recruiting program for your lodge. I hope you will consider becoming part of the solution.
I hope you will join some of your friends and brothers in bringing new activity to your lodge. Call me, or any of my officers, if we can help you!
2017 – 2018 Grand Lodge Officers
|Grand Master||Richard D. Myers||Fremont|
|Deputy Grand Master||Patrick D. Barger||Lincoln|
|Grand Senior Warden||Robert W. Moninger||Burwell|
|Grand Junior Warden||Ronald D. Stites||Papillion|
|Grand Secretary||Reginald S. Kuhn, PGM||Lincoln|
|Grand Chaplain||Corey L. Bergstrom||Sidney|
|Grand Orator||Ronald D. Grass||Tekamah|
|Grand Historian||James J. Jones||Seneca|
|Grand Custodian||Scott J. Krieger, Sr., PGM||Hastings|
|Grand Marshal||John B. Ferguson||Kimball|
|Grand Senior Deacon||James A. Carlton||Bellevue|
|Grand Junior Deacon||Alexander F. Straatmann||Kearney|
|Grand Senior Steward||John L. Millington||Lincoln|
|Grand Junior Steward||Charles J. Odorizzi, III||Omaha|
|Grand Tyler||Karl H. Rasmussen, IV||Fremont|
|Personal Representative of the Grand Master||Alvin O. Benemerito||Long Pine|
|Personal Representative of the Grand Master||Anthony "AJ" Johnson||Bellevue|
|Personal Representative of the Grand Master||Tyler S. Loontjer||Bellevue|
Nebraska Living Past Grand Masters
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|First Name||LastName||Term Start|