There are many different mentions of mentorship in the world of Masonry. It seems to be the rallying cry of rebirth in Masonic circles. I am in agreement with pushing the idea of mentorship but many Lodges don't know where to start. I will give you my impressions on how to effectively implement one of these plans in your Lodge.
Many new brothers are arriving on our Lodge steps without the usual Masonic connections. Before, a man would join Masonry because he was friends with Mason or was related to a Mason. Now, it is not uncommon to find out about Masonry from the Internet or learning of some grandfather who was a Mason. With this new trend in mind, we need to establish a complimentary mentorship program.
To start, we have to look at our candidates' needs in a certain order: friendship, ritual, education. Obviously as each of these are accomplished, the others must also be maintained. However, I think this order of Masonic elements really helps the petitioner/brother become more involved in Masonry, which is the goal, retention.
To show how an effective mentoring program works (at least the one that my Lodge uses), we start with an interested man. He doesn't know anyone in the Lodge but he is incredibly excited about Freemasonry. He has looked on the Lodge website or has called the contact number received from Grand Lodge. He has made first contact.
What should we do now?
This is key; make immediate contact. The man has put his neck out in the hopes that he will be considered for our Fraternity. He has taken the first step. We have to reciprocate in kind to show that we are interested in him as a person, not merely as a number.
The first contact should not be the mentor but another brother. I believe that it is a good idea to require the Junior Warden or Senior Warden to roll out the carpet. The Wardens are tied to the Lodge as leaders and are expected to be knowledgeable on the basics of Masonry. He has the ability to help the interested man by answering his questions. The Warden, at that point, should drop a line to the Mentor.
Who should be a mentor?