At Overseed, we describe revitalization pastors as patient catalysts. Leaders who understand that building trusting relationships and revitalizing a church takes time and intentionality, especially in New England.
George Ray was a great example of being a patient catalyst.
For 35 years, George served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Evangelical Church of North Reading, MA. His heart for church revitalization was formed during his seminary days “by a church that time had left behind.” While attending Gordon-Conwell Seminary, George was called to help with pulpit supply at a declining congregational church near Boston where he eventually became the Interim Pastor. During that time, he grew to love the church and appreciate its people. He saw glimmers of hope for what could be, and was inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 16 “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.”
He said he “takes God’s challenge seriously, to love and stand with His church. Personally, I like to see things resurrected, brought back to life. We have a charge to rebuild the church. Revelation 3:2 says ‘Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.’ And, he continued, “it sends a good message to our culture that Christians are rebuilding vital parts of our communities.”
With decades of practical experience, George was an Overseed Hub pastor who coached a cohort of pastors struggling to revitalize their own churches. His cohort of replant pastors includes some he knew and some he met through Overseed referrals. Despite coming from different backgrounds, they all have the same goal – to know Christ and make Him known among the people of their churches and communities.
Like Overseed’s other Hub pastors, George made the well-being of these pastors a priority. He knows we are called to spur on one another. When his cohort gathered, he provided lunch with plenty of time to discuss any topic or concern they had about a revitalization issue in their own churches. He listened. George modeled for his cohort how a patient catalyst listens. Then, together they tackled a chapter of Church Planting is for Wimps and wrestle with the author’s discussion questions.
George got it. He understands the framework in which they serve, the struggles, joys and possibilities of pastoring a historic church in New England. That’s what coaching is all about.