No one would have ever suspected that God would bring together a pastor and a publisher from two different worlds to live out the grand finale of their lives... Together for a Purpose.

After the passing of Ross’ wife of 49 years and losing my mother after caring for her during the final year of her life, our worlds collided and things would never be the same. The loss we experienced would lead us together experiencing the highs and lows of this life with new found hope.

Ross and I have uniquely crafted this book to bring our voices together telling our story in a “he said, she said” format. Our hope is that through our own personal examples God will reveal how you, too, can be united within His purpose for you and your spouse.

Dr. Ross Holtz

Dr. Geoffrey Ross Holtz was the founding and senior pastor of The Summit, Enumclaw, Washington. He holds a Masters of Religious Studies, a Doctor of Ministries, and a Doctor of Divinity degree from Columbia Evangelical Seminary, is ordained with the Evangelical Free Church of America, and is the author of Are You in the Game or in the Way? A Question for Pastors and Men’s Ministry Leaders.

Athena Dean Holtz

Founder and publisher of Redemption Press in Enumclaw, Washington. Athena was named Publisher of the Year 2022 by Soul Cafe' Awards and Best Female Podcast Host of the year in 2021 by the national Spark Media for her All Things Podcast, she is the author of Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God, the founder of She Writes for Him writers’ online and in-person events, and the Redeemed & Restored weekly newsletter.

A Power Couple’s Search for Purpose in Marriage and Ministry

A pastor and a publisher meet and marry later in life and are surprised at the fallout in his congregation. About one-third in the church the groom had founded and pastored for forty-nine years left in the year following the wedding. Pastor Ross Holtz was sixty-eight and a widower when he and Athena Dean, pioneer Christian publisher and podcaster, found each other and married. Immediately, they had to deal with a live-in blended family, change, personality differences, and criticism.Ross Holtz says, “Our dream world of wedded bliss was becoming something less blissful and more of a nightmare than a dream.” Athena Dean Holtz says, “Walking into our marriage with stars in my eyes, I didn’t have any idea of the negative reactions heading toward us.”The power couple tells their unique relationship story in a candid new release titled Together for a Purpose: Love and Mission in Marriage and Ministry (Redemption Press 2022). Dr. Ross Holtz, the founding pastor of The Summit in Enumclaw, Washington, describes the book this way: “This is a love story. It is not the story of two lovesick youngsters for whom the whole world is atwitter because of their attraction to each other. Nor is this a story of two people naive enough to think that all one needs is love, or that physical love conquers all. This is a story of two seasoned travelers who have gone through enough of life to know that without the love God has for us, and gives us to offer others, love is a selfish enterprise that often leaves people unloved and unhappy.”

This engaging and often humorous narrative written by a high-powered Christian woman publisher and a ready-for-retirement widowed pastor deals with change and criticism, blended families, issues of compatibility, and meshing as a couple. More than just a love story, this growing-in-faith story touches on what we all long for—belonging, being loved for who we are, and finding a place of service to God and purpose in our everyday lives.

Athena Dean Holtz says, “Living together with a purpose with all of our baggage and expectations and assumptions and fears takes gratitude, humility, and a teachable spirit.” She adds, “Ross and I have told our own stories together to encourage you that God will be faithful to you in your relationships, no matter what age or stage you find yourself in.”

BONUS: each chapter contains engaging questions to use as a couple or in a small group setting to guide in conversation that will strengthen your marriage!

What's being said ... 

I am charmed by them all over again

  • - Melody Turk

I first started to get to know Ross and Athena at their wedding. I didn't know their respective back stories, only seeing two people very much united in love and sharing God's message with others. As I have gotten to know them more, they have continually impressed me with how they both lead with vulnerability and confidence. They are real people who don't always get it right, but continue to choose to follow Christ and let Him readjust their choices and then they share those lessons learned with others, so we don't have to make the same mistakes (hopefully).

Reading their story has been rewarding. It gives me that "Christmas Hallmark Movie" feeling. For those that don't know Ross and Athena, you'll be just as charmed. You'll find a fun-loving man who still gets nervous about getting the woman, and a woman still awe-struck with how God blesses her with a man picked specifically for her.

In addition, the simple questions at the end of each chapter have given me a chance to reflect on my own marriage and realize the truly amazing things God has done. Probably won't write my own love story, but they've definitely inspired me to share some of those amazing things with others.

Transparent and honest!

  • - Lori Maas

I loved the “he said” “she said” format of this book which allowed me to see wisdom and insight from both sides of the marriage. Ross & Athena share a story of redemption and true love that is an inspiration to everyone who either personally knows them or reads this book.

The Faithfulness of this couple is so encouraging!

  • - Colette A Francel

I loved this book! I am 54, and single but it’s content left me hopeful with renewed trust in the Lord to wait on His timing and in all things be reminded of the goodness he will bring with my own faithfulness to God. Athena and Ross are wonderful examples of a partnership in Christ! A must read for singles and couples!

A captivating story!

  • - Debbie Ashley

Ross and Athena's book draws you in from the beginning. Their candid stories and words of wisdom will meet you on every page. This is not a story void of pain or sorrow. But through it all they discover God is directing their steps and helping them fulfill their purpose both as individuals and as a couple. And they will encourage you to do the same!

Copyright © 2023 Athena Dean Holtz | All Rights Reserved.