Earlier this month, we at Square & Compass Promotions posted on our social media a question regarding leadership in Freemasonry-specifically whether our Masonic Leadership emulating the characteristics of leaders such as Steve Jobs or Elon Musk could result in more Masonic “success.”
[The author posted this question after listening to Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs and Elon Musk biographies-he just started the Leonardo da Vinci biography].
One response to our post, we thought, was particularly interesting. Someone, a fellow Mason, responded: “how do you define ‘success’?”
That was a particularly “relevant” response because it forced us at Square & Compass to tackle a question that many Masons (at many levels) fail to tackle-how do we define Masonic “success?”
What does “success” look like?
What does “success” mean?
Is “success” an enjoyable Lodge experience?
Is “success” growing membership numbers?
Is “success” increasing charitable or exoteric endeavours?
Is “success” increasing Masonic knowledge around esoteric topics?
Many Masons define “success” as some combination of the above (many Masons have other definitions entirely). Each definition comes with potential drawbacks also.
If “success”is an enjoyable Lodge experience-will Lodges begin to prioritise enjoyment over the necessary (but perhaps boring” business of running a Lodge-and the Lodge may begin to falter administratively.
If “success” is growing membership numbers-will the Masonic order find itself overrun with more members than it can reasonably mentor or connect with-and Lodges may begin to falter in brotherhood.
If “success” is increasing charitable endeavours-will Lodges begin to focus on exoteric or community events at an expense of Masonic education on esoteric topics-and Lodges may begin to falter in Masonic education.
If “success” is increasing Masonic knowledge around esoteric topics-will Lodges begin to focus inward and, in the process, lose the community support necessary for most Lodges (and Lodge buildings) to thrive (and gain new members).
We, at Square & Compass, define success based on relevancy. Indeed, our Podcast, and mission in general, is designed to explore the many ways in which Freemasonry is relevant to the communities in which it is located.
Relevancy, as a concept, takes a little from all of the aforementioned examples.
A relevant Lodge will provide an enjoyable experience to its membership…but will also be administratively and financially strong.
A relevant Lodge will have significant membership growth…but will grow in such a way as to ensure every member (new and old) feels adequately supported and as though they are relevant to the Lodge as much as it is relevant to them.
A relevant Lodge will have a strong exoteric or charitable and community based arm so that the community knows not only what Masonry is, but its value to the community and world…but will not forget the duty it owes to its membership.
A relevant Lodge will have a membership knowledgeable on esoteric or Masonic topics … .but will remember that any group requires the support of the community and exoteric world to thrive.
For Freemasonry to be relevant, it needs to be relevant to its membership as well as the community.
Relevancy is also (somewhat) measurable?
“If your Masonic Lodge or body (or building) were to disappear tomorrow, would the lives of its membership (or at least the majority thereof) or the community at-large be significantly affected?”
If the majority of members attend regularly, take part in the Lodge’s extracurricular activities, help keep the Lodge building clean, then by definition the day-to-day lives of the majority of membership would be affected if the Lodge were to disappear tomorrow, and the Lodge is relevant.
If the Lodge’s surrounding community regularly rents out the Lodge building or lends the space for community events; if local businesses cater Masonic or other events; if artists use the Lodge building as a performance space, then by definition the social and economic fabric of the community would be affected if the Lodge were to disappear tomorrow, and the Lodge is relevant.
The author is writing this on a bus, on his way to Ottawa, ON for the 2023 National Trust Conference. This is special for two reasons. First, Ottawa, ON is a very important part of the author’s life. [I haven’t been there since pre-pandemic, returning-even for a day-will be amazing].
Also, the National Trust goal is to ensure our historical buildings are relevant to the communities in which they are located. The National Trust has also been an amazingly important resource for the Windsor Masonic Temple’s “For The Next 100 Years,” project.
This project, amongst many other things, seeks to increase the Lodge’s relevance within its community, The project has been noticed by its City administration and City Council; they notice it because it is relevant to the project, and the Windsor Masonic Temple, is relevant to the community.
So now we ask you the question: is your Masonic Lodge, Body, or building relevant?
Another question: how do you define success?
All opinions expressed are those of Square & Compass Promotions and the guest(s), and do not necessarily reflect those of the Windsor Masonic Temple and/or any Masonic group.