This is it! Our MEGHP’s final essay on the observation of Texan Brother Lance Kennedy’s, “10 Propositions for Texan Freemasonry.” You can read his whole article here.
Value. That’s what this final essay of Brother Kennedy is really talking about. I hear it all the time: Dues should be higher. Almost as much, I hear: Dues are fine where they are at.
It’s a matter of value, Companions. If your dues are low or where you feel they should be, my guess is that your Body’s meeting (heck, the overall experience) is probably pretty low too. Maybe that’s okay with you. Maybe all you want is to see your buddies once a month and have a potluck dinner. Many Chapters are like that. That’s the value members perceive for the mimimal amount they pay in dues.
But my guesses these lodges and chapters have a skimpy turnout month after month. Their leaders probably don’t have much of a plan. They probably aren’t bringing in a lot — if any — new members, at least with regularity. Their temples are probably broken down and in a state of disrepair. My guess is when they do bring in a new member, he sticks around for a meeting or two and then never comes back. I’m also guessing two or three years down the line, the lodge or chapter is chasing that member for back dues payments.
People are fine with paying for value. If your lodge or chapter has wonderful, elaborate meals with great fellowship, you don’t mind paying a little extra for a catered meal now and then. If your Body renovates, updates, and takes constant care of your temple and makes it something that members take pride in, they probably won’t mind paying a bit extra for that. If your degree costumes and props are new, fit everyone, and probably cared for, members will cheerfully donate what they can to make conferring degrees a joy.
Additionally, a lodge or chapter that has a plan — degree work, community activity, fundraising, membership initiatives, Masonic education — will see more members. They’ll see a value in coming to chapter or lodge meetings and events. And they will realize that things take money to work well. They will pay higher dues.
I’ve always used the word “value.” We sadly pay more for our mobile phones and cable TV each month than we do for our annual dues. What does that say about our priorities?