There is a small town in southern Champaign County, Illinois named Longview. Longview has less than 200 residents and is a traditional Midwestern farm town. Most of the business have closed and now all that is left is a United States Post Office and some service business.
What intrigues me most about Longview is the name of the town itself. The name originates from the long view of the open Illinois prairie landscape.
But I often think about Longview as more than just this small Midwestern town. It is also a way to consider the work that is and needs to be done in Freemasonry. We often get stuck in the rut of discussions on topics such as declining membership, the costs of dues and building issues. These are important areas of concern, but are often the cause for taking our eyes off the ball of the more fundamental and needed changes for the future continued success of Freemasonry. I always advocate taking the Longview.
What does taking the Longview mean? Here are some of my thoughts:
- Freemasonry is built one brother at a time.
- Understand that whatever challenges we are having today, they are not insurmountable.
- Have crucial conversations with other brothers within the lodge about what you would like to be as an organization in the future.
- Develop a written plan on how you can get there.
- Celebrate success. If you raise a new Master Mason it is a cause for celebration for him personally and the lodge as a whole!
- Become visible as an organization within the community.
- Offer a reason for members to come to your events.
- Education is a core element of a successful lodge.
- We are a fraternity to help grow the individual man. While charity is important, it is not the primary mission of Freemasonry.
- Have some fun!
There are of course many other ideas, but the key element I want to emphasize is the Longview. Change may not come instantly. Having the patience, persistence and perseverance will pay huge dividends for a success future.
Enjoy the Longview!