Updated: November 27, 2020
If you are reading this article, odds are that you are an Odd Fellow, and a pretty dedicated member at that. Today’s article asks YOU three very important questions that every Odd Fellow and every Rebekah should ask themselves, and then answer. If you think it will be useful, you might pass this article along to the members of your Lodge via email, or you might bring up this article at your next Lodge meeting under “new business” and have a discussion about the three questions.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP
If the future of your Odd Fellows Lodge and the future of Odd Fellowship is not of particular interest to you, then you can stop reading at this point.
On the other hand, if you care – even just a little bit – about your Lodge’s future and the future of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, then please read on. This article asks you three important questions. Take a few minutes to ask yourself these questions, and think about the answers you would give to each of them. Don’t worry. This is not a examination. No one else will see your answers. No one will give you a grade. These questions are just for you. Ready?
1. Have you invited anyone to join your Odd Fellows Lodge in the past two years?
Many members don’t really give much thought to the concept of inviting others to join the Odd Fellows. If they think about it at all, they assume it is someone else’s job. But is it someone else’s job? Is it the job of the Lodge officers, or the Lodge membership committee (assuming the Lodge even has a membership committee). In truth, it is the job of every single Odd Fellow. In fact, I would suggest that it is the #1 job of an Odd Fellow. As important as it is to foster friendship, love and truth in our daily lives, and as important as it is to follow the rules and tenets of the Order, it all evaporates if the Lodge fails to add new members.
There was once over 400 Odd Fellows Lodges in California. Today, we have about 110 Lodges. What happened? In almost every case, the Lodge disappeared because the Lodge members were sleeping – they failed to bring in new blood. Look. It’s just simple math. Lodge members drop out over time, they move away, and eventually every single member will pass away. A Lodge which fails to bring in new members will eventually pass away, as well.
You have relatives. You have friends. You have co-workers. You know people. Have you asked them about joining your Lodge?
2. Have you thought of what you would say if the person you invite asks you, “Tell me about your Lodge and Odd Fellows”?
So, you now have decided that you will ask a person you know to consider joining your Odd Fellows Lodge. Good for you! What is the inevitable first question the person will ask you?
Certainly, they will ask you to tell them about your Lodge and about Odd Fellowship. Will you have an answer to this obvious question? You should. What is it about Odd Fellowship that originally enticed you to join? What can they expect if they join the Lodge? What does your Lodge provide for the members of the Lodge and for the benefit of the community? Why do you remain as a member of the Lodge? What does Odd Fellowship mean to you? All these are important questions you need to answer for yourself, before you can talk to others about taking the leap into Odd Fellowship.
3. What have you done over the past two years to improve your Odd Fellows Lodge?
Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves. It is unlikely that you will ever find a person who wants to join your Lodge just to sit around in a closed room once or twice a month to read ritual passages from a little red book and to discuss repairs to the plumbing or roof.
If the Lodge does little more than this, it’s not a very enticing opportunity for potential new members – particularly for the younger prospects we need in our Order. Does your Lodge provide any interesting or fun activities for the members? (Yes, it is permissible to have fun in this Order.) Does your Lodge do anything of value for the community which surrounds the Loge Hall? (Yes, Odd Fellows should not isolate themselves in the building, but should reach out to improve their community and the world at large.)
And what about that Lodge Hall? Is the exterior and the interior of the Lodge in good shape? A building that is dirty, or shabby, or has peeling paint is not a very enticing prospect to future members.
Ultimately, the Lodge is only as good as its members. What have YOU don’t to make it a better place?
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows
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