Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

It is my pleasure to forward to you another article written by the Chair of the DMC Committee and one of the three founders of Dedicated Members for Change, PGM Rick Boyles. He asks the humorous, yet elemental question: “Where’s the beef”?

If you are one of the dozens of Lodges that are losing members, and have been losing members for years, it’s now time to get a clue. Whatever you are doing, brothers and sisters – it’s not working. You must think outside the box that has become your Lodge hall. It’s 2016, not 1916. Try something new! Rick has some existential suggestions.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master


Where’s the Beef?

In my journeys throughout our fair state, any time I come to a lodge that is deteriorating I find that it has no readily apparent inner core. One way one can verify this is to ask a member of that lodge what their lodge stands for. If all the member does is murmur “friendship, love, and truth” then they are lacking in lodge personality. It does not take a Mensa candidate to figure that a lodge’s days are numbered if the personality of that lodge is lacking. But it is not due to an inadequacy of the members that a lodge personality is lacking, rather it is due to the lodge’s inadequacy at large to lend personality to the lodge in general. Often, when I have asked a member why they leave our order they respond either that a) “the lodge doesn’t do anything”, b) “they don’t understand me”, or c) “they don’t care about what I care about”. It’s not just about getting members it’s also about keeping the members we already have.

If we are to grow as an order, we need to do some pretty simple and elemental things to encourage growth. We have to add more beef to our lodges, or to put it plainly, more substance. How do we do this? First, we should talk to our own members and ask them their interests. Successful lodges have substantial interests. A test of a successful lodge is simple. If a lodge is dependent upon one or two members to exist, then it is eventually bound to fail. All of us are mortal, and eventually fade from sight. Many of us selfishly believe that we are somehow personally keeping our order at large going. While this may seem admirable, it is short-sighted, and if anything, myopic to the extreme. In order for our fraternal group to survive, we have to realize that the whole of our group is greater than any one individual. Clearly, there are some forceful and wonderful personalities in our order, but if we become totally reliant upon them then we are otherwise admitting failure. Many hands make light work. We fail if we become reliant upon one unique personality.

A well-functioning lodge can stand on its own. Committees can be formed for just about any reason, and there any number of varied committees throughout our order. If your lodge has little or no committees, consider coming up with one or two to start. Committees can be formed for lodge events, charitable occasions, parties, trips, and literally many other reasons. Think of the next season, and what does your lodge plan to do for example, in the summer, visit a ball park, march in a parade, tour a local attraction, or…? In other words, give the next month or two something for your lodge to look forward to. If your lodge does regular events, that is certainly commendable, but think of new and unique things you might plan next. The best lodges don’t rely on simply one event but many. If you don’t have many members, try to enlist friends, relatives, even (gasp!) the public. What is wrong with that? We are a fraternal group, not a crowd of hermits or ghosts. Take a look at successful lodges and note that they tend to involve themselves with the public, and eventually this attracts some new blood.

Celebrate diversity. Recently, I attended the wonderful Cave Degree in Yreka, CA with the Grand Master and other members, and had the pleasure of meeting a number of younger more diverse members. These are the types of members we need to look for continued growth in our order. I spoke to several of them and they have fresh new ideas for events and projects. Of course, our regular events and projects are great, but the more projects and events we have the better and will serve to attract even more divergent personalities.

Finally, consider this –

Almost all older institutions, fraternal groups, religious gatherings, and other multi-generational clubs are suffering losses now. The Pew Research Company, a Non-Partisan think tank, states that many organized religions are suffering losses in members, and we clearly know that fraternal groups are having a tough time too. Not only must we modernize our order, we need to look at the world how the world sees us. If we genuinely want to grow, and I am afraid that there are many out there who really don’t want to grow (or at least alter their own environs), we need to not only allow modernization within our order, but more precisely welcome it. We need to not only chant “friendship, love, and truth”, we need to prove it to the world at large.

In Friendship, Love and Truth, Rick Boyles.

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