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Open Panel

I attended a lodge inspection this week and heard again about “The Lost 30.” The lost 30 refers to the men in Ohio who were initiated into Masonry and for some reason or another didn’t continue through all of the degrees.

As I thought about what might begin to solve this problem, I focused on one aspect of a leader’s behavior that I constantly stress in leadership workshops and is a leader’s most valuable weapon – building and maintaining positive and effective relationships. Building these relationships will not only connect a follower to a leader, but it will, if practiced by all members of the organization, bind a new member to the organization.

I began to think about how many times I have talked about the importance of building relationships and then began to think about other Masonic leadership instructors I know that have done the same thing.

So here is my opinion:

The “Lost 30” were lost because we failed to understand that the men who joined our lodges joined expecting a sound organization where they could bond with other men and develop friendships and meaningful relationships. If men do not complete the degrees, we have failed to provide a lodge environment that builds and foster these relationships they were seeking. We have failed to recognize, as DEO W.B. Chad Simpson put it, our candidates are not business transactions but we are “adopting a man into our family.”

A Pew Research Center survey on what compels someone to leave a group, cited these reasons.

  1. The group lacked leadership – 54%
  2. The person lost interest in the goals or purpose of the group – 47%
  3. The group could not accomplish its goals – 42%
  4. Group members were not respectful of one another – 41%

So, let’s all answer these questions about our lodges and see how we are doing:

  1. What are our officers doing to raise the level of leadership in their lodge? Have they read the Grand Lodge Officer’s Manual? Do they have scheduled officer’s meetings? Does each officer know what’s expected of him and if he is not performing is he held accountable?
  2. Do the officers and Brethren know the goals and purpose of Masonry and their lodge? Do they have a common vision of what they want their lodge to become and is it communicated to the brethren and to the men joining?
  3. Are we promising to make a man better and then give him nothing that improves him.
  4. Do our lodge meetings turn into disagreements over stuff that does nothing to do with the education of a man about Masonry?

So, to begin with, we shouldn’t ignore solid, scientific research that points out areas where organizations fail.

Next, before we all go seeking complicated solutions for a simple problem, we should recognize we have a lot of “CRAP” to help us already.

CRAP = Common Resources Already Provided.

I need to go no further than our own Freemason University that will provide immediate solutions to begin to solve our problem of “The Lost 30.” Here is a list:

  • The Lodge Management Module – These are all excellent and they dive deep into the “Lost 30” problem. Directly related to our “Lost 30” problem, I suggest you watch Duane Kemerley’s “The Tie That Binds.” Another video in this section provides instruction on listening. If you are going to connect with someone, you must be able to listen. There are other videos in this section that will provide valuable insight in connecting and building relationships.

  • The Grand Lodge of Ohio’s Master Craftsman Program, if properly executed, develops a one-on-one relationship with each man joining your lodge. Have you read the Master Craftsman Manual? Are you using it? Have your lodge’s Master Craftsman attended a training session? Every member of your lodge should be a Master Craftsman. If all of you are not building relationships with each other and men who join you, then not only will your candidates not complete the degrees, but you will find the existing Brethren will drift away.
The Lost 30 are lost because we didn’t connect. They are lost because we didn’t establish and continue to build a relationship with them.

They got lost because we failed to practice Masonry:

  • Brotherly Love – “welcome to our family; we love, need, and respect you.”

  • Relief – “I am listening my Brother, how may I help and what is it that the lodge can provide you to improve your life?”

  • Truth – the truth with ourselves that we need to continually learn skills that we may not know, truth that our titles don’t make us knowledgeable, truth that improving takes hard work, and truth that the solution to your lodge’s problems could well be solved by the skills of the Brother sitting next to you. Have you built a relationship with him to know what his skills are? If you have, are you using them?

“The Lost 30” aren’t lost, we are, and it is time we stop talking and analyzing Masonic problems that can be solved by basic leadership skills, connecting with and caring for our Brothers and then collectively hold each other accountable if someone, or some lodge is not doing it.

Start Improving Masonry; Look In The Mirror.

~ Written by Michael Clevenger (Masons Lead Better)