Revitalization Project


New Member

My name is Christopher Johnson, and I've decided to undertake a project, the results of which I will gladly publish and share on this site. As you all know, our fraternity has seen a dramatic decline in overall membership and attendance since the early 1970's. Our numbers just aren't what they were. On the converse side of that coin, no other fraternal organization has had the same staying power, influence, wide spread membership, or social impact as Freemasonry has had. We face a challenge, how do we remain relevant in this day and age without causing any material changes in our Masonic Institution? To this end, I'd like to ask for responses to the following:

What keeps a lodge successful today?

For me, a successful lodge is one that:

A) Has a steady flow of candidates - at least 5 per year minimum. That’s one candidate for every two months (excluding the months some of us "go dark") that we have a business meeting.

B) Is financially solvent. That means that money is coming in at a greater rate than money is going out. Could be from dues, could be from fellowship dinners, could be from community donations, it doesn't matter.

C) Has an active membership. We all know lodges, or belong to one, that have a core group of between 4 to 12 brothers that do all the work. That is NOT what I'm talking about. If you have at least 25% or greater attendance and involvement from your active, good standing, dues paying members, this is to you.

D) Has a positive community image. If your community looks favorably on your lodge, or your district, if they know you can be a source of help or good will, or heck, if they know you exist! This is what I'm looking for.

E) Have maintained the spirit and soul of Freemasonry. We are not a cigar club, though we may have cigar nights. We are not a community service organization, though we engage in community service projects. We are not a charity group, though we believe in being charitable. Freemasonry has always been something greater, a fraternity of men making each other, and the world around us better. We are, or should be, men who work to fit our every action, thought, and belief into the due bounds of our obligations, and who the non-initiated might look at and desire to emulate. Men who may disagree with their brethren, but do not allow that to color their interaction with each other or their attendance at lodge.

Not all of our lodges will fit into this definition. In fact, given the decline of membership that we face, it would not be unfair to say that very few of us will. So, if your lodge is successful at any one of the above metrics, or more, please let me know what you attribute that success to. My hope is that I'll get a lot of answers, enough to actually dive into the reasons and come up with a Success Plan that my lodge, and upon publishing to this site ALL lodges, might be able to borrow from and revitalize our Fraternity. I'm sure that we would all agree that to do nothing would result in Freemasonry fading from the world, and the world would be the poorer for it.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke


New Member
Not a single reply, brethren? C'mon guys this is important info that may help out all our lodges. I put this question to 3 forums and have like 10 actual responses to this. That doesn't seem right to me.


Sadly, too many lodges are complacent, and members are convinced that everything is fine. Any new idea is immediately shot down, with "We never did it that way before".


New Member
I understand, but I'm not looking for new ideas. I'm looking for things that brothers have actually done and said, "Hey that really had an impact on our petitions/fellowship/retention/participation/financial situation, etc." Then I can drill down and find out why it worked and maybe make some big things happen with only little changes to the things we CAN change.


Plus-sized tuxedo model
OK, Here's what has worked for me. Back when I was Senior Deacon, I took a course offered by Grand Lodge for Ambassador Training. During that class it was pointed out that only 15% of all men Raised are active a year later. I wondered why. I took it upon myself to call each of these men and find out why they had not stayed. The majority had life changes that drew them away, Kids, illness, job transfers and the like. The few who did not come by choice all told me they were not getting any Masonry out of Masonry. Nothing happened except the same Rituals and paying bills in the meetings. They liked the events but couldn't justify getting home from work in jeans and a T-shirt, putting on a suit and tie and going to a meeting they didn't get anything out of.

My solution when I took the Oriental Chair was to implement the "Masonic Minute". I asked the brethren to bring a short poem or essay to lodge that inspired them and to share it. I always have something ready in case the brother doesn't. As a result, I've seen my sidelines grow and more activity than ever. One of the things that surprised me most was the fact that this was the first time many of the brothers had been asked to bring something to the meeting of their choosing. As a result, it gave them "permission" to expand their level of activity.

Our Marshall, who always felt that he couldn't do Ritual, suddenly memorized all the charges and delivers them at every degree. One brother, a retired history teacher, brought together some of his reenactor buddies and put on a "Colonial Collation" where we had a meal that would have been served in 1776 in the season we held the event. It seems our Table Lodges are really formalized version of these types of celebratory meals. The toasts were more like "roasts" both back then and during the event. The Junior Grand Warden was in attendance and as he left for the evening gave me his card asking me to be sure to invite him back next year. These are just a couple of examples.

I was elected to serve a second year in the East and will be reinstalled next Thursday. While I don't believe for a second that I'm the reason we have grown in numbers and treasure, I do know that an iron fist is the wrong way to rule and govern a lodge. Those that are inflexible break when the wind changes. I swore to uphold my Grand Lodge's Rules as well as my Lodge's Bylaws. Within those is a vast space to have fun, be inspired and become better men.

In summary, I attribute the success of my lodge to the brothers who, when given the slightest nudge, stepped up and exceeded my and everyone else's expectations. Grand Lodge was so impressed that the "Masonic Minute" is now part of our Lodge of Instruction.