Are You in the Game or in the Way Author Interview

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 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.

Q&A with Ross Holtz

Who would you say inspired you the most in your life?

I have been inspired by many, many people in my life. Two stand out in my mind. Billy Graham comes to mind first. He lived and served in the eyes of millions of people and was able to keep his reputation and his humility. He was flawed, he’d be the first to state that, but he knew how to let The Holy Spirit have the freedom to work in his life.

The second, I think, would be Francis Schaeffer. He was one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. He had a way of addressing the issues with clarity and humility. But, he didn’t equivocate when faced with the sins of our culture and times. He truly demonstrated the idea of “telling it like it is.”

If you could spend the day with anyone (living or dead) who would it be? Why?

That is a very interesting question. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that before. Who would I want to spend a day with? I guess it would be Charles Hadden Spurgeon, one of the great preachers and writes of the 19th century.

Why? Well Mr. Spurgeon was about the most innovative and creative pastors the church has ever known. He wrote prolifically. One of his favorite audiences was young pastors. He wrote in detail about the issues common to the Christian church. Interesting to me, is that the problems are very much the same almost 200 years later. He was brilliant but  a most humble and gentle man.

I would like to just walk with him through a normal day in his life and observe how he was able to stay in touch with The Holy Spirit as he faced the demands of pastoring an extremely large church.

Do you have a special writing area?

I do have a special writing area. While I sometimes move around, I like best to write in my upstairs study. It is a familiar area with lots of natural light and a view of the old neighborhood I live in. I like the connection with the outside world while I’m writing. I also like to have familiar things around me.

How do you balance writing time with the demands of life/family?

Balancing life’s demands has always been a problem. But, since my children have all grown and my wife has a demanding career, it is not as much a problem to find time to write that it used to be. I am a pastor so my schedule is pretty flexible. It can be demanding, but flexible.

Sometimes the problem isn’t the conflicting demands on my time, it is just the self-discipline to sit and write. I find that deadlines are helpful for that.

What kind of research do you do?

So far, I’ve written on topics that I have pretty extensive knowledge about. I am an older guy and have been in pastoral ministry for more than 45 years. I have experienced nearly every kind of problem or issue in ministry over those years. I haven’t had to research the topic, I have experienced everything I’ve written about.

I do search for quotes and examples. I seek out good lyrics or lines from poems to help make my points, and to make them more interesting and dynamic.

How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

To date, I’ve not had to spend any time researching before I begin writing. I do read as much as I can find about the topic during the writing process. I do spend a considerable time thinking about and jotting down ideas before I start the official process.

The last book, after I knew what I was going to write about, I spent about nine months thinking and planning. Gathering illustrations and stories that made my point before I typed the first chapter.

Was there anything you found interesting while researching the topic?

I didn’t really find anything that I didn’t know in the writing process. I did find it interesting actually putting my thoughts into words. A couple of times I was surprised by how strong my feeling were about a particular issue. I didn’t know I felt quite that way a few times.

Do you have any writing quirks?

I don’t think I have any writing quirks, I don’t think. I kind of wish I did, as it would make me a more interesting writer I guess.

Do you read much?

I read as much as I can. I am an avid but eclectic reader. I enjoy classical theological and ecclesiastical writers and I like murder mysteries and novels from decades past. Reading is nutrition for my brain. I have never had an original thought, I don’t think, everything I know I learned from books.

What is different about writing non-fiction vs fiction? Would you say one is easier than the other?

I have not written much fiction over the years, only a few short stories, so I can’t speak eloquently to the difference. I am, however, planning to write a novel as my next book. I don’t know if one is easier. I am looking forward to the challenge of using my imagination rather than my life experience as the basis for writing. I guess you’ll have to ask me in a year or so after I’ve actually invested the time

Anything else you’d like to share?

Ha, I’m a preacher, I always have something to share. But, I can’t think of anything that might be of interest today. Thanks for the questions and the interest in my writing.

Thank you Ross for your time in letting us get to know you better!

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 11

Vicky Sluiter, November 12

Artistic Nobody, November 13 (Author Interview)

Just the Write Escape, November 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 15

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.