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MASONIC LEADERSHIP FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
by Alva N. Rogers
Presented to Ed N. Eubank Council #75 Allied Masonic Degrees, 2 March 1996 by Alva N. Rogers
The past decade has underscored the need for the continuing development of Masonic Leadership, if the Masonic Fraternity is to survive. I ask my non-Christian Brothers tolerance since as a Christian, and as a member of a predominately Christian Lodge, I have written this paper from that perspective.
All active organizations undergo change. Changes come from pressure from within and without. Periodically almost all organizations become unable to accept change or react in a positive manner to forces acting on them. Normally when such problems surface it is an indication of failed or failing leadership.
Now when Masonic leadership fails is it the fault of the leader, or the Lodge? I contend it is the failure of the Lodge, for the Lodge is charged with Masonic leadership development. Such failures are predictable when a Lodge departs from the rule and guide and elects individuals to leadership based on the good old boy system and not on displayed leadership ability. Election of an individual to the line because he is a good painter or cook, but has displayed few if any indications of knowledge of Masonic ritual work, or of our rule and guide is one example of this system. Another is allowing an individual to continue through the line when he has displayed that he is not committed to the responsibilities of Masonic leadership. Sufficient knowledge to obtain a certificate is not alone evidence of the qualities needed to be a Masonic leader. Regular attendance in one's Blue Lodge, we should expect, so alone it is not evidence of leadership. Neither is attendance in district training sessions such evidence. Collectively they are indicators that this individual may be a candidate for consideration as a Masonic Leader. We should also evaluate how a candidate for Masonic leadership is recognized among his business peers for leadership and honesty. Since the Holy Bible is our rule and guide how one practice his religious faith is an indicator of his knowledge of that rule and guide. Granted, it may have been far easier to make such an evaluation during earlier times, however, such increased difficulty does not relieve us of the responsibility.
As Masons we need to understand:
I know of no better model than those outlined in the scriptures of the Christian New Testament.
The Colossian model (Colossians 1:18 ) indicates that the Master should be the Head of his Lodge, and he is preeminent within his Lodge. The Master in his symbolic position is the supreme head of the Lodge.
Matthew's model indicates that each lodge must be built upon a strong foundation (Matthew 16:18). How can we build our lodges on such foundations? Each member of the lodge, but more especially the Master and Wardens, must be well grounded in the Holy Scriptures of his faith. Let us pause a moment and reflect upon the mantle we place upon each new Junior Deacon. We are in essence electing a future Master for he will normally rise as cream in milk. It is an unusual event to set aside that current that moves him to the East. So it is essential that we look well to the benefit of the order when we elect a new Deacon.
The Wardens, Deacons and Stewards in our fraternity have many duties in providing proper leadership within each lodge. They are to teach and guide the less informed members of the craft. The accomplishment of these duties must be done willingly and in a disciplined way. Likewise they must be willing to serve subordinates as well as superiors, for their duties are to the Lodge, not just the Master. These duties are clearly modeled in the third chapter of 1st Peter and in Acts 6:1-7.
The Christian Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephenians (Ephenians 4:11-12) explains that we all do not have the same talents, but should use the talents God has given us. When we seek Secretaries and Treasurers we should seek examples of trust, reliability, and devotion to duty. The Director of Work should be an able and dedicated teacher, willing and able to give freely of his knowledge, as a leader and teacher. The Craft has always looked to him as a standard and as an example. It is not necessary to enumerate all the positions in the lodge. Suffice it to say that attention to our rule and guide will provide guidance in the selection of any position within the lodge.
Now to the greatest role of leadership in each lodge......To be a successful leader one must first be a follower. The followers in Masonry are the members on the side line. Paul the Apostle admonished Christians to follow their leaders in Hebrews 13:17. We as Masons should apply Paul's model to our lodge. We should obey those appointed over us, for they must give an account for us, let them do it with joy not grief: for their grief is not profitable for you or the Craft. Paul admonished Christians to properly use his God given talents in Ephesians 4:7, and we as Masons should apply our talents to our obligations as Masons.
The Body of the Craft is what the World sees of this great fraternity. We set the table of how the uninitiated view the Craft. The question then becomes: shall we continue along the path we have been traveling, or shall we return to the models and foundation of our rule and guide? We must look well to the benefit of the Craft when we elect our leaders, and measure candidates by the models of our rule and guide, if we are to prosper.
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