I think we all understand the importance of looking after new candidates when they come into Freemasonry but what about those who come to our lodges as joining members after having had a bad experience in their own lodges? The sad fact of the matter is that sometimes members join lodges that aren’t suited to them for whatever reason. How many times have we heard “I was pressured into taking office” “They refuse to move with the times” and “I don’t feel included”. When I hear of Freemasons resigning because of a bad experience within their lodge it amazes me that although we get constant information about the importance of recruitment and retention from UGLE and the Province some lodges still don’t get it.
I fully understand that some lodges through no fault of their own are struggling to find new members, however, this is not a valid excuse to pressure a member into an office they may neither want nor be ready for. In an ideal world, of course we would love every lodge to have non Past Masters on the floor pushing towards the Masters chair, but the reality is not that straight forward. I would rather have a happy non active mason in my lodge than a miserable officer contemplating resignation from the Craft. When you get a possible joining member talk to them, find out their expectations and intentions before they join, also let them know the expectations of the lodge they are joining. Find out if they want a role within the lodge or an office, don’t just assume they want to be active, I know some wonderful members who are happy being knife and fork masons, it doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying their Freemasonry less than anyone else or are less valued as members.
Value the opinions of the joining members, they have a right to a voice in the lodge as well, they chose to join you for a reason, don’t have them leave one lodge because they felt undervalued only to join yours and feel the same. In my opinion we all pay the same amount in fees, so everyone should have a say regardless of rank or seniority in the lodge. You never know, your new joining member could have ideas and skills that could greatly benefit your lodge.
Try and get your new joining members integrated into the lodge as soon as possible, introduce them to other members before the meeting when they are due to join, go for a drink or a meal, bring them to social functions or even invite then to attend meetings at the lodge before they join. The more members they know before they join the easier it will be to make them feel comfortable and at home in their new lodge.
Keep in regular communication with joining members. The more you talk to them outside of the lodge environment the more they will learn about their new lodge and the way things are done. Remember to include them in any social media the lodge may use, this can be another great way of finding out about lodge news and events as well as staying in touch during the summer recess, or even finding out if they can’t make a meeting for whatever reason.
I think what I’m saying is don’t just look after the new masons make time for everyone.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this blog, please feel free to leave any comments you may have below. Continue to enjoy your Freemasonry.