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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Celebrate Lit Tour: Are You in the Game or in the Way? Interview with the author!

About the Book

Book: Are You in the Game or in the Way?Author: Ross Holtz
Genre: RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Pastoral Resources
Release Date: March 10, 2017

Are You in the Game or in the Way?

A men’s ministry reality check: What is standing in the way of a vital men’s ministry in your church? 

The guy who should be at the forefront is often in the way of the program getting off the ground. 

·         Are you, as pastor, the main obstacle to the growth of a vital men’s ministry? 
·         Are you the guy who wants to start a men’s ministry in your church but don’t know how? 
·         Is fear or a sense of inadequacy keeping you from starting such a ministry? 

Pastor Ross Holtz tells his personal story of how he became a catalyst for growth, instead of an impediment will inspire pastors and men’s ministry leaders. 

What works, what doesn’t, and what is required in forming a vital men’s ministry. Practical and honest teaching filled with relevant and tested examples from recognizing the problem to finding the fix.  

Pastor Ross Holtz is a man who has earned the right to speak on ministering to and through men . . . One man’s journey from being a sceptic to a fully-engaged pastor who sees the power of a clear ministry to and through men . . . Pastor Ross bares his heart, and is, at times, brutally honest in a way that will resonate.  

—Chuck Stecker, president, A Chosen Generation

Click here (affiliate link) to get your copy.

About the Author

Geoffrey Ross Holtz, DD, is founding and senior pastor of The Summit (ECFA) in Enumclaw. He was awarded “Pastor of the Year” in 2014 by the National Coalition of Ministries for Men. Ross and his wife, Athena, the founder and publisher of Redemption Press, have a blended family of eight adult children and seventeen grandchildren and enjoy time spent sailing.  

More from Ross

I’ve been asked to tell something about myself or tell a personal story. I’m not adverse to talking about myself, but I’d rather tell you a very personal story. There was a show on television, maybe still is I guess, called Overhaulin’. The plot of the show was that each week they would sneak a person’s car away from them, with family help, and overhaul it to make it really cool. It was every car-guy’s dream; to have someone restore a vehicle for you, that was special to you. And to restore it at their expense; Wow, doesn’t get cooler than that. I never was on that show, but I have a story that I want to tell you. It was late summer in 2014. I had just remarried after having lost my wife of 49 years awhile before. The church that I pastor was having a car show as a community outreach on this particular Sunday. The day had started out rather weird. Several people seemed to be inordinately interested in my movements and where I was going to be as we set up the show. “Oh, Ross, you need to go into the church, someone is looking for you.” Or, “Hey Ross, would you run get this for us across town?” Yeah, weird things. But I obliged and made myself scarce for the time leading up to the church service before the car show officially started. So, we do the obligatory service; it ends, and my new wife and I start walking through the grassy field looking at the custom and restored vehicles that had come to the show. I, as is my style, was meandering along the cars talking to people I knew and folks with their fancy cars. Athena, my wife, seemed to be hurrying me along which was not like her at all. And, which was like me, I was just strolling along enjoying the cars. Then, down the row a few cars, I spot the open hood of a 1961 Chev pickup. That year had a very distinct hood which was used only one year. “Oh, look at that. I had a truck like that years ago. Wow, and look at that, it’s yellow. Isn’t that gorgeous.” Funny, I failed to see the horde of people and cameras set up in front of that vehicle, all looking towards me. Anyway, I hurriedly moved towards it and recognized it as a limited addition of that year’s Chevy truck. I said, “Hey look at that. It’s the same model that I had. That’s not your normal ’61.” I wondered if someone had restored my old truck. I must give a bit of back story on my old truck. It had been purchased new in Los Gatos, California by my dad. He had needed someone to drive it home so he pulled my out of school to do that. I was 14. My father was not a stickler for legal technicalities. So I was the first to drive his new truck. It was new, but it was ugly. It was painted an ugly shade of puce. I mean it was really an awful color. My mother called it “Rosebud” because it reminded her of some kind of flower. In 1975 my dad gave me the truck because he had no further use for it. So I drove it until about 1988 when it was totally worn out. So I sold Rosebud to a friend named Randy who had plans to restore it eventually. I sold it with the understanding that if he should he ever sell it, I’d get first right of refusal. Fast forward Twenty-five years. A bunch of guys were sitting around a campfire talking and Randy announces that he’s moving to another state and getting rid of everything he owns. “What about my truck? Are you taking it with you?” “Oh,” he said, “I gave that truck away a while back.” Those who were there said I looked disappointed, or something. I don’t remember feeling that, but it was said. Now, back to the story. I was looking at this beautiful truck, wondering if it was the same truck, when I saw Randy on the other side of it. “Randy, you son of a gun, you restored my truck.” He said, “It’s your truck.” “Yes, I can see that. You’ve done a beautiful job with her. But why didn’t you tell me?” He said once more with strong emphasis, “It is your truck.” “Are we playing games?” I wondered out loud. And, to make it more cruel, someone had entered the truck in the show under my name. That wasn’t nice. I was not very situationally aware at that moment. I didn’t see all the cameras and people that were focused on me. People were laughing and cheering. I didn’t notice. I was focused on the pickup that had been my dad’s. It took them four or five time to finally get across to me that this beautiful bright yellow, completely restored truck was a gift from the men of the church to me. Randy had given it to the men’s ministry of The Summit with the request that they make it new for me as a gift for nearly 30 years of ministry to the church. Dozens of men had spent 18 months completely disassembling and rebuilding it from the ground up. It now had a fresh corvette motor, disc brakes, power steering, and a custom paint job. I had been Overhauled. Not by Chip Fouse, but by a group of men, and boys, who cared enough for me to invest months of blood sweat and tears. Not to mention the thousands of dollars it took. I wept. I still weep when I think about it. One final part of the story that needs telling. I remarried after Cathy died, as her instructions (another story). I guess I didn’t wait long enough for some people, or something. People, about 100 people, abandoned me and left the church. They might not call it abandonment, but I do. I asked some of the more prominent people, “Is there a sin issue here?” “No,” They said, “We just don’t think it’s good for the church for you to remarry.” As you might imagine, it was an extremely painful time for this 67-year-old guy. I had found another person to finish off my life with, which I didn’t think possible, and some people considered it wrong for me to do. They didn’t consider my feelings, and needs, only thinking of  theirs. Or so it seemed. But all the while this tragedy was taking place, a whole bunch of good and committed friends, were investing their time and efforts, in secret, to rebuild my dad’s old Chevy truck. All the time I was in such pain, these good men were giving up evenings and weekends to do this wonderful thing for me. Isn’t that like God? Sometimes while we are in the dregs of misery, He is working, unseen, to bless us, to encourage us, and to show His love for us.

Author Interview

1. Will you tell us a little about yourself?

In recent years, I’ve applied the appellation D.O.G. to my biography, Distinguished Older Gentleman. I have been a pastor for about 45 years, with a couple of years off along the way. Education, well learning in general, has always been important to me. I was recently awarded a second doctorate by Colombia Evangelical Seminary. Yeah, I guess I’m bragging a bit… well, it was a great deal of work, eh?

I am conservative both in my religious views and my political ones. 

I am, I think, the classic ‘family’ man. I married young and was married 49 years to my first wife, until the time of her death. I married a second time because I like being married and dislike being alone. 

I have always had a love/hate relationship with writing. I love it when I’m in the middle of a project or finishing one. I hate it when I am seeking a topic and trying to set the time aside to do it. 

2. What is your latest book about?

My book is about the tensions and problems between senior pastors and the men trying to establish a ministry for men. I have years of experience from all sides of this issue and have seen some solutions that have enabled churches to overcome those tentions. 

3. Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? If so, what was the most interesting thing you learned?

I didn’t have to do a ton of research, I have been in ministry more than 45 years and have seem most of the common problems that local churches face. I wrote about what I’d experienced and spoke of solutions I’ve seen work. 

Since I was writing to things I have had years of experience with, I didn’t find much that I didn’t know. But, I have been surprised by people’s reaction to my offered solutions. I guess for some people, if it isn’t their idea it doesn’t have much value.

4. Where do you like to write?

Tampa, Florida would be a nice place to write. But since that isn’t possible for me, I have an upstairs study that gives me peace and quiet, and, has an interesting view over the old neighborhood in which I live. I like to feel connected to the outside world when I’m writing, so windows and fresh air are critical. 

I have a very large overstuffed chair that I sit in and I have lots of books and familiar things around me. 

5. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I smoke a cigar when I write. I don’t know if that is interesting or not, but I consider it a quirk. I find the cigar helps me stay focused. Staying focused is a major problem for me. I am easily distracted when I write. Well, accept when I’m under a heavy deadline. I seem to need a deadline to get anything completed.

6. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I like to read. I like to watch movies. But most of all, I like being on my old sailboat with my family when the weather is acceptable. There is something about having my loved ones together in a close environment that I find satisfying. 

7. Is there a place you'd like to visit, but haven’t yet?

There are myriads of place I’d like to visit. I have never had the excess funds required for world travel. I would love to see the Scandinavian countries. I am Norwegian by decent and grew up hearing the stories of my ancestors and imagining what those places would be like. 

8. Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

I guess John 3:16 has to be in every Evangelical’s top five favorite verses, but in my older years Romans 8:23-24 have grown huge for me. The idea that God would make everything, even the major mistakes of my life, and into something good for me is just incredible. Those verses played heavily in my streams of consciousness while writing my last book. 

9. Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?

Hmmm. There is a song called The Prayer. I don’t know who wrote it, but it was recorded by Andre Bocelli and Celine Dion. My second wife and I chose it as ‘our’ song. It speaks to God’s grace and guidance in difficult, or fearful, times. 

And, almost anything written my Paul Simon is on my favorite list. I am fascinated by lyrics that paint pictures of people or places that are not common to me. 

10. What are some nonfiction books you found impactful?

Francis Schaeffer’s book have all impacted me, as did C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I am drawn to authors that force me to think beyond my normal thoughts. 

11. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas is hands down my favorite holiday. I love the chaos, busyness, and the overall craziness of that time of year. Yes, the religious symbolism is import also. 

12. What is your favorite season and why is it your fav?

I am tempted to say summer, because I love the sunshine. But, winter, especially Christmas time, would probably be more honest. I have always loved Christmas because that is when my father seemed to be happiest. He was an old Scandinavian and because of a childhood injury found life to be very hard. He was gruff and cantankerous most of the time. But, he was different at Christmas. It is easy to understand my affinity for that time of year. 

13. Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?

I am working on novel actually. Though I’m not a novelist, I would like to be. I’m working on a book about what it might be like for the church when the world is falling under the Anti-Christ’s power. Many of us are hoping for a Rapture, but realize it may come later into the one-world dominance than we’d hope for. Would the Christian world fight, or would we turn the other cheek?

14. Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?

I am so behind on the whole social media thing. I have a website but I’m sadly lacking in paying attention to it. My publisher is attempting to change that. Maybe this is the year I’ll get into the 21st century. One never knows eh?

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, November 12
Artistic Nobody, November 13 (Author Interview)
Just the Write Escape, November 14
A Baker’s Perspective, November 16 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, November 17
janicesbookreviews, November 18
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 19 (Author Interview)
A Reader’s Brain, November 20
Inklings and notions, November 21
My Devotional Thoughts, November 22 (Author Interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, November 23 (Guest Review from James Barela)
Lukewarm Tea, November 24 (Author Interview)


To celebrate his tour, Ross if giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of his book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.


  1. This sounds like a really great and fascinating read.

  2. Quite an interesting interview!

  3. So interesting to hear more from the author!

  4. It has been great hearing about your book and although I am not the reader myself, my 2 sisters and 2 daughters are. They love hearing about the genre's they like and me helping them get to find books they will enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Author interviews are helpful; the responses tend to reveal a lot about the person behind the book.


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Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Some of the links in my blog posts, tweets, social media posts, etc. contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.
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