One question that may be asked is "When does mentoring come to an end?" The truth is that there may be no single answer to this question. It will all depend on the type and strength of the relationship that has been built up between the Candidate and his Mentor.The initial aim of the mentoring programme is to ensure a new brother enjoys his first few years in the Craft and becomes a regular and active Freemason. He may not wish to commit to any further activity, such as taking up an Office or performing ritual. If this is what he wants, and he will still attend his Lodge when he can, the mentoring relationship will probably start to wind down at this point. However, it would be unusual indeed if he had no further questions and did not direct these towards his Mentor.
Of course as well as a more formal mentoring relationship, bonds of friendship may also appear which may continue for many a year.
However, the new mason may wish to pursue a more active Masonic career by either taking up an office, performing ritual or working his way towards the Chair of King Solomon. In such a case, mentoring should continue to support his development.
It may be that the Mentor has no experience in the role that the new mason aspires to; Worshipful Master, Treasurer, Charity Steward etc. In such a case, it may be better that 'the mentoring baton' is passed to a brother who has the necessary experience. The Lodge Mentor will review, on an ongoing basis, the suitability of Mentors he has allocated to particular new members.
Dealing with signs of Declining Interest
If a Mentor is meeting regularly with the new member, he should be able to pick up any signs of potential disinterest at an early stage. This may manifest itself in many ways, but may include: missing Lodge meetings, not attending social events, or never staying for the Festive Board.
The first thing to do is to talk, and listen , to him. It may be that his domestic and/or working circumstances have changed and he has no longer the time to attend as regularly as he would like. If this is the case, re-assure him that family and work must come before his Freemasonry and that he is doing the right thing. Let him know that when his circumstances change, he will be welcomed back into his Lodge with open arms.
If he feels that it will be a long time before he can re-attend his Lodge, discuss with him the potential of attending/joining another Lodge that meets at a time more convenient for him.
However, it may actually be the case that he is losing interest in Freemasonry. Speak to him and try to find out why. It may be that he has fallen out with someone, that he is being pushed into doing something (ritual/an office) that he does not want to do. These are issues that can be remedied and it is the Mentor who must help him do this as he may not have the confidence to speak up for himself.
If the problem results from a clash of personalities in the Lodge and cannot be resolved, similarly for any other distinctly Lodge related problems, then as a last resort you can always recommend that the Candidate try another Lodge. If necessary, visit with him and introduce him to anyone you might know in the Lodge. It is better that he is lost to your Lodge, than to Freemasonry as a whole. Do not blame yourself if this happens, as we all experience situations when we are unable to correct a problem.
In the final analysis, you may regrettably have to accept that the Candidate is not the right sort of man to be a Freemason or, that Freemasonry is not the right organisation for him. If you believe this to be true and have tried all that you can, it is better he leaves the Order in good standing and with good heart. It is not in anyone's interest to have a disinterested person in the Lodge. At least you will know that you have done all that you can.