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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grand Lodge of Iowa's Master Builder Program

As we used to say in the advertising world, "Where do good ideas come from? Somebody else!"

As in real life, not every Freemason is a self-starter. Not everybody is destined to be a great leader or to inspire others. Some folks are desperately in need of lists in order to keep on track. And sometimes we all just need a little goad in the right direction.

The Grand Lodge of Iowa AF&AM created the "Master Builder" Program, partially because some folks respond better if there is a carrot to chase or a little reward at the end of the list. Lots of Masons and lodges do these things on the list as second nature and need no trinket as a prize. But if you are looking for a way to jump start your lodge members into thinking about ways to improve themselves and their brethren, Iowa's list is an excellent place to start.

How to become a Master Builder

A Master Builder is a Brother who is actively involved with the present work of his Lodge, his involvement and Legacy will help build the future of his Lodge and Community. Every brother that successfully completes nine of the eleven steps in this blueprint will receive an award. The first 10 successful applications will be awarded a special limited edition Grand Master’s jacket.* This jacket will be emblazoned with the Masonic Square and Compass and contain the words, “Master Builder” along with your name. So how can you qualify? Keep reading. Here are the specific criteria that you need to complete to become an official “Master Builder.” **

1. Recruit at least one new member and be the top line signer on his petition for the degrees of Masonry. The prospective member must receive the Entered Apprentice degree prior to August 31, 2011 for this requirement to be met.

2. Participate and effectively handle one or more ritual parts in each of the three degrees in your lodge prior to August 31, 2011, OR assist another lodge in conferring their degree work.

3. Being a Mentor builds bonds between Brothers that last a life time. You are asked to personally provide the educational guidance for at least one new Mason (preferably the new brother who joined in step 1 above)

4. Assume responsibility to personally participate in visiting a potential member and discovering his values, wants and suitability for joining the Fraternity.

5. Assume responsibility and participate in planning at least one event for the lodge that includes widows and/or families and/or candidates for Masonry.

6. There are Brothers who have lost contact with the Lodge for a variety of reasons, who if asked can be reactivated and engaged. By extending the hand of Brotherly Fellowship we invite them to become involved. After revisiting the Lodge and becoming reacquainted with the traditions and members of the Lodge they will find it easier to return and be a participating member.

7. Participate in a Lodge event or project, or assist in a volunteer program to benefit youth. Consider working through a local school—such as being a volunteer. (An example would be going to a school to read (or listen to a student read to you) for a specified amount of time each visit for a specified duration of time (usually six to ten weeks). Other examples include: assisting with a scholarship program, coaching a youth athletic team, working with a Masonic youth organization, or providing adult leadership for groups like scouting, 4-H, FFA, YMCA.) .

8. Participate in at least one Lodge event or activity for community improvement. This may be met by establishing the communication and cooperation with another community organization on a project, and assuring that your lodge is actively involved in bringing that project to completion. (Review “Ten Steps to Lodge Renewal” for ideas.)

9. Assume responsibility to conduct or arrange an education program at a regular meeting. This may be fulfilled by you personally preparing and presenting the program or by you personally arranging for an outside presenter to provide an educational program.

10. & 11. Building personal associations with other Mason’s helps your Lodge build a support and information network with like minded individuals in your area. Making visitations and attending Masonic Events and Meeting allows you to get information and build relationships.


  1. Brother Chris. Minnesota has a similar program entitled the Masonic Light Award Program. It is a comprehensive program that has several objectives within 9 categories; Masonic History, Contemporary Enlightenment, Ritual, Concordant Bodies, Computers and Masonic Forums, Philosophy and Masonic Symbolism, Lodge Administration, Leadership, and Masonic Mentoring. 7 of 9 proficiencies gets you the Masonic Light Award. There are some of the "trinkets" you mentioned, as well as esteem from the Brethren. But the most important part, it sets the Craft to work and starts Brothers on the path to lifelong Masonic Education. For more information, please go to the Grand Lodge of MN website and click on Masonic Education. - Brother Adam Lang

  2. Brother Chris, Minnesota has a great program which is quite similar called the Masonic Light Award Program. Complete 7 of 9 proficiencies, which in of themselves have a minimum of 10 objectives, and receive the award from the Grand Master. There are "trinkets involved, however the best thing about this program is that it sets the Craft to work in their Masonic education and leads them on a lifetime of enjoyment in Masonic research. Check it out at the following link. http://www.mn-masons.org/node/10579. Brothers of all recognized jurisdictions are welcome to participate.

  3. Allowed, with restrictions, in a growing number of jurisdictions.

  4. The GL of Massachusetts has a very similar program, but Iowa has given theirs an infinitely better name. It's a great program that really does "set the craft to work," even in Lodges which don't always do a good job of following through with new candidates. In Massachusetts it's called the "Masonic Rookie Award."


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