Having the element of Masonic Education is essential to the lifeblood of a Masonic lodge. If all a Worshipful Master does during a meeting is read minutes and pay bills, why would our brethren want to keep coming to meeting after boring meeting? Masons join masonry to receive "light" and a Worshipful Master's job is to give "light". This is not limited to degreework.
Most lodges in Connecticut meet twice a month throughout the year with the exception of the summer. Removing degrees, the annual meeting and the awards night, it typically means that a Worshipful Master has between 10 and 12 nights that he must plan a program for. This can feel like a daunting task for some brothers.
In an attempt to help brothers who are apprehensive about putting together Masonic Education Programs, I have compiled the following list of tips to help:
- The content of a program does not have to be original. Referencing someone else's work or reading someone else's content is completely acceptable. For example, reading Rudyard Kipling's The Mother Lodge and leading a discussion about it would be a fine program with no original content.
- The content of a program does not have to be new. Although you may have heard the topic before, it doesn't mean your lodge has. Even if a brother has heard the topic before, you might have new information or a different viewpoint about it, which will be enjoyable for that brother to hear.
- You can use the internet. Finding "good" Masonic Education is not constrained to dusty old books. The internet is literally filled with thousands of Masonic papers and topics. When in doubt, go to google.com and type in "Masonic Education", "Masonic Programs" or "Masonic Papers". You'll find tons of resources at your disposal.
- The Worshipful Master sets the schedule, but he can delegate the program to another brother. If your Senior Deacon is reading a book on King Solomon's Temple, ask him to lead a short lodge program on the description of King Solomon's Temple in the bible. Most officers and brothers would love to have the opportunity to lead a program in lodge. Delegation is a vastly under-appreciated leadership strategy in Masonic lodges, when it is by far one of the most important strategies there are in organizational leadership.
- It doesn't have to be long. Many people believe that a program must be 30 minutes long or some other amount of time. A concise and interesting topic is much better than a long and boring topic. Some of the best Masonic Education Programs I've seen were less than five minutes long.
Overall Masonic Education Programs don't have to be difficult to put together. They can be recycled, borrowed, short and done by someone else. Don't get overwhelmed by trying to put together the "perfect" program. Any program is better than just reading minutes and paying bills.
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