The Rough Ashlar

Thoughts from a Traveling Man

The Rough Ashlar - Thoughts from a Traveling Man

Ascending to the Oriental Chair, Building Effective Committees, and Increasing Member Retention

Masonic Cake by Rothrock CakesI was recently installed as Worshipful Master of my lodge. Wow – what an exciting day that was! Wow – what a lot of work I have ahead of me! I get to write the monthly trestleboard; take phone calls from our brethren who have various issues such as illness, death, lack of transportation, and need of personal and fraternal advice; visit other lodges for various important events; improve our mentorship program; continue to teach a weekly ritual school; and arrange programs for 21 meetings this year, not to mention preside over many degree nights, at least ten of which I have already outlined as wanting to do before July. That’s a lot to bite off. Have you ever scheduled degrees? That’s a lot of work by itself!

Thank goodness I don’t have to do all this on my own. Our Junior Warden is scheduling degrees, our deacons are helping me teach the catechisms, our immediate Past Master is running the mentorship program and the secretary is going to take care of a lot of stuff I either don’t know what to do with or don’t have time for. And he will stay on my butt about writing the trestleboard. He hounded me until I wrote a brief bio for the website and is on top of stuff enough to not let me forget to do anything. Then what am I doing? I am hoping to have things farmed out enough that I mostly just have to answer the phone and show up to meetings.

I am able to do this by forming committees. We have a culture in my lodge of not liking committees, but that’s what we have. Everyone groans when someone mentions a committee, so what I have done is asked certain brothers to take on certain responsibilities and most have been willing to do so. Leadership established! Then I invited these brothers to pull in one or two extra guys to help them get the work done. Committee established! And look – I didn’t use the word committee in my requests at all. Instead of asking for committee reports, I just ask Bro. Bob how our widows are doing and what he has planned for them.

That’s what I am doing in my lodge. Whatever you are doing in yours, be sure not to do it all yourself. Bring in other brothers to help you out and give them something to do. Not only will this reduce your workload, but you will find that you have better member retention if you ask someone to take on a task or lead a committee. It gives a sense of ownership and also allows the bonds of brotherly love to grow organically as that brother finds others to work with him. Everybody wins and the Master just has to show up and be the overseer. In theory, anyway. We will see how it all works out.

  • Jay N says:

    Brother – was interested to read your blog. So, at the almost end of your tenure, did those well-laidout plans work for you?


    November 2, 2011 at 4:30 am
    • Carl says:

      Hi Bro. Jay. Not everything has gone according to plans laid out at the beginning of the year, but part of the game is to improvise, adapt, and overcome. Even though not everything ran according to the plan, having that structure there was invaluable in having the Lodge progress in a better-than-satisfactory way. Some guys opted not to carry out the duties they said they would and I didn’t get to do everything i would have liked to do, but I am more ambitious than some, so I take it with a grain of salt.

      I had a great year. I can say in all honesty that the Lodge is in better shape at the end of the year than it was when I took the helm. I’d be lying if I said that its several pieces fitted together with such exact nicety that it appeared more the handiwork of God than that of man, but I am very happy with the trajectory we are on.

      Thanks for asking!

      November 2, 2011 at 7:49 am

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