Worshipful Sirs, Right Worshipful Sirs, Very Worshipful Sirs and my brethren all,
Many service clubs and fraternal organizations are lamenting the fact that their membership is on the decline. As we look around the lodge this evening, we see members of various ages. Noticeably absent are the numbers of millennials of today. Described as between the ages of 22 and 37, this segment of society is 27% of a population of approximately 19 million Canadian men. This means that there are nearly 5 million younger men who are candidates for Masonry. These men are also the ones who are starting families, are early in their careers and likely have the least amount of available time. Many do not have the paternal influence for Masonry that many of us had in the past. Their grandfathers may have been Masons, but not their fathers.
What do these young men crave that we can fulfill? Why might they want to join us? First and foremost they want to trust other individuals. They want to be connected to people who are like minded and offer more than just friendship. They want a brotherhood where they will be welcomed, in fact WARMLY WELCOMED. They seek an environment where they will not be judged. They need to feel secure in the knowledge that they are a part of something important.
A survey of Millennials found that they have a strong set of values. When asked to rank those values from 1 to 100. Amongst the higher ranked values were Justice, Integrity, Tolerance, Reverence to God and Service.
If you think about your top 100 values, these answers may not align perfectly with your ideals, however, it is gratifying to see that the millennials do have justice, integrity and tolerance as 3 of the stronger values. Nearly 91% of these men believed that integrity was important or EXTREMELY important in their daily lives. If we compare these values to the tenets of brotherly love, relief or charity and truth, then Millennials are candidates to be made a mason. It is also important to note that many millennials are more likely to desire a work life balance than previous generations. So, all hope is not lost for our future. In a survey of 1,000 men between 21 and 65 years of age in the USA, it was found that 81% had heard of freemasonry, however, only 25% of the respondents knew that this is a brotherhood built on the principles of selfless giving and making good men better. Our mission for the future is becoming clearer. We want to elevate our presence in our communities and be approachable. This will enable men of all ages to learn about us. When they do approach us, we need to be able to articulate why we are masons. This does not mean we need to have a scripted response, but, it does mean that we should search our soles and understand why we as individuals are masons. This answer is different for each of us in the room. Personally, I have an inherent trust with the man standing across from me and that I know he who is a mason has already received a pass on many of my core values. I trust that man more than a stranger. I also know that when I come to lodge I am amongst friends and in a secure environment with like minded men. What about you? When you go home tonight and over the next few days, think about why you continue to attend and pay dues.