Monday, December 10, 2012

A Vision of Lodge Success

What is success in a Lodge?  Every Mason will have his own answers.  This is mine. 

A successful lodge is:
1. Functional
2. Self-Correcting
3. Continuously improving
4. Attractive
5. Stable


The lodge must fulfill its various functions.  It must meet on schedule, on time.  It must fill all of its offices, elected and appointed.  It must possess the necessary tools for work.  ALL members, not just officers must understand and fulfill their responsibilities and roles in the lodge's operations.  The lodge must successfully communicate, both in collecting information, and in distributing information.  Ritual work must be performed properly at due and appointed times, such that participants walk away from work activities with the gifts and lessons the work is intended to impart.  The lodge must spend less money than it raises, or raise more money than it spends.  If the lodge fails in any of these areas, it is not a functional lodge.  It is not a successful lodge.


When the lodge goes astray, a successful lodge can correct itself.  It does not require an outside force to come in and correct it's ways.  This implies that it is fully conscious of masonic interpretations, and can perform it's own work.  If it is unable to do this, it is capable of acquiring the missing information and skill and putting it to use on its own.  A lodge may ask for help, but if it is self-correcting, it should know when it needs to ask, and not wait to be told.  A successful lodge will always seek to make repairs.  It is not satisfied to know that it was functioning correctly last year, but it knows that things left unrepaired will get worse.  A successful lodge will not suffer a crack in a wall, but rather will celebrate when Brother Masons point out the crack and move to repair it. 

Continuously Improving

When a successful lodge has done everything it needs to do, it begins to look for weak links, or things that are functioning, but which could be improved.  It is always looking for a slightly improved ritual performance, refurbished working tools, new furniture, new projects, new ideas, new robes, new photos, new equipment.  The lodge is always improving.  It takes advantage of the skills and energy of its members and seeks labor and resources where and when they are available.  Brethren seek daily after anything they can do to improve the edifice of a successful lodge.  The work does not end.  There is always room.


This does not refer to the Temple, although there is much to be said for an attractive building.  The Lodge itself is attractive when the community admires and respects it.  It is attractive when men seek to become a part of it.  How a lodge presents itself to the outside world, in the actions, behaviors, and habits of its members, determines it's attractiveness in the eyes of the world.  When men see respectable men taking part in activities inside an attractive temple, their curiosity becomes action.  The lodge must look to it's appearance.


Brethren may not attend each and every meeting with exact consistency.  But a successful lodge will maintain sufficient membership and commitment to be able to conduct operations with consistent stability.  This refers both to meetings as well as projects and activities, such that participation one month is not 60 men, and another month 6.  If the lodge has six core members, then so be it.  But if participation is swinging wildly, there is something else going on, and a lodge would do well to do a little self-reflection to determine what it is. 

All of these indicators of success assume a lot of other things are in place.  These are not easy to achieve, and none of them are ever truly complete.  But to think that a lodge is "successful enough" is not a workable concept.


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