Friday, June 16, 2017

Divine Appointments Bring Fruitful Ministry Opportunities by Athena Dean Holtz

Athena Dean Holtz

I met Athena Dean Holtz some years ago through the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association (she’s currently the president.) I love the story she shares today, but let me tell you, this is only a small part of her amazing journey. I have so much respect for this woman. To learn more, please check out her memoir, Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God. ~ Dawn

Divine Appointments Bring
Fruitful Ministry Opportunities

Entering the world of publishing as a neophyte back in 1986 while serving in the ministry to Vietnam veterans and their wives, I learned the power of the written word and how lives can be changed forever.

Many small groups scattered across the country, gatherings of vets sharing their struggles and pain, praying for one another. We felt called to give them spiritual solutions to their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder rather than leaving them with the VA’s answers – take meds and learn to cope!

Rejection letters filled our mail box. We weren’t famous, the ministry wasn’t huge, and Vietnam veterans weren’t considered a great audience. Finally, an acquaintance who worked for a denomination’s publications division offered a response that seemed do-able.

“I’ll do a rewrite of the manuscript, have a cover designed, format the text, apply for an ISBN number, and have 10,000 copies printed for a buck a piece!”

God had orchestrated this “divine appointment” but we had no idea where the money would come from! We prayed and trusted Him for the provision for the vision He’d planted in our hearts. Just a week later a Korean vet walked into the Point Man Ministries offices in Woodinville and wrote out a check for the entire project. Just like that.

In just 2 years, we sold 8,000 copies of “Nam Vet: Making Peace with Your Past” giving away the other 2,000 at events across the country. In 1988, we were interviewed on the 700 Club about an upcoming Veteran’s Conference the ministry was hosting in Virginia.

One of the guests was impressed by the sales and offered to act as an agent and pitch the book to a traditional publisher. At the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, he met with Larry Libby, Senior Editor for Multnomah Publishers. Larry quickly offered a contract and Multnomah sold 40,000 copies over the next eight years. Many vets were saved and healed through the words in that book.

That success story started me on a journey that has been an amazing story of God’s grace. We started the first professional custom publishing company in the industry and I pioneered the independent publishing movement in the Christian market over the next few decades. I was the first custom publisher invited to serve on faculty of some of the most credible Christian writers’ conferences across the country because we were passionate about excellence and telling authors the truth about whether their books were really ready for publication or not. We required editing and proofreading and prided ourselves on producing books that didn’t look “self-published!” That successful 20-year-old company was a God idea that got hijacked by the enemy, but God was faithful to restore all that was stolen and birth Redemption Press in January of 2014.

My 30-year adventure in publishing encountered many twists and turns, including a modern-day Cinderella story which has now been shared in my memoir, “Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God,” (Redemption Press, 2017).

In the aftermath of spiritual abuse and toxic leadership, one woman’s shattered life is restored by the faithfulness of God. Athena’s driving desire for affirmation and attention pulled her away from her family, husband, and children into what she thought would bring happiness. Deceived by Scientology, forays into mysticism, and twelve years in a restrictive and legalistic cult, she lost everything: her marriage, relationships, home, business, money, and reputation. This is the candid and inspirational story of how her eyes were opened, how God restored what had been lost, and gave her the desires of her heart, including a new love.

Athena Dean Holtz has been at the forefront of Christian custom publishing for the last 28 years. The co-founder of WinePress Publishing, she now leads Redemption Press. Author of three previous books, and a highly-rated personal blog, she serves as president of the Northwest Christian Writers Association, is a president’s club member of the Christian Women in Media Association, and a member of Advanced Writer & Speaker Association. She serves as host and interviewer on Always Faithful Radio, AM 630 KCIS, Seattle. Married to Ross Holtz, pastor of The Summit, Athena enjoys her grandchildren and time spent sailing. The couple makes their home in Enumclaw, Wash.