What About Zach?
Like that Bill Murray movie, but beardier.
But mainly I'm a writer doing everything I can to just keep writing—and to help you keep writing, too.
I have one of those "official" author bios, if you're into that sort of thing:
Zach Hoag is an author, preacher, and creator from New England. Planting a church in one of the least churched cities in the U.S. (Burlington, Vermont), and pursuing ministry beyond that in a variety of spaces, Zach has learned a few things about the power of a deeply rooted life in Christ. Zach has found belonging in the Vermont countryside where he lives with his wife, Kalen, and their three girls. Find him writing at zhoag.com and follow him on Twitter @zhoag.
But honestly, that barely scratches the surface. Wanna dig a little deeper?
Just Keep Writing
Like all good origin stories, mine starts with strange circumstances and an unmistakable calling. I grew up in a ministry family that was entangled in cultish and controlling religious junk—yet I embraced a sincere faith as a little kid, and I felt a powerful sense of calling to ministry that intensified as I got older. After growing up and out of that cultish experience, this sense of calling led my wife and I to plant a church in one of the least churched cities in the U.S., Burlington, VT.
As I led our church plant, I became passionate about a faith that engages culture instead of escaping it, and embraces people instead of excluding them. It was out of that pastoral and missional experience that I wrote my first book—about the gospel of Jesus and a TV serial killer named Dexter (naturally). It really was the culmination of preaching week after week to connect the Word to the words of our cultural conversation.
Of course, as Bruce Cockburn sings, “Sometimes a wind comes out of nowhere, and knocks you off your feet.” Life has its darkness, its pain, its corresponding lament—another part of the story. As our church plant ended dramatically, an apocalyptic kind of season was triggered in my life, revealing the deeply broken things in my past family and church experiences, and challenging the very foundation of my faith and calling.
In the midst of that season, when I was at my wit's end, I desperately asked God what I should do next. I was looking for any shred of hope to hold onto, any glimmer of light to show the way forward. Deep in that part of my soul that knows things before I can even understand them, I felt these words form:
And I haven't stopped since.
In fact, writing my story, and not stopping, has led to a new sense of purpose in pursuing creativity in life, ministry, and business. And it has led to a brand new book called The Light is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life.
Really, the release of this book is a landmark, an altar of sorts, signaling my and my little family's arrival at the very precipice of genuine flourishing—which is where I find myself right now.
I probably should have said this earlier, but welcome! Welcome to this site where I aim to just keep writing—and to help you keep writing, too.
Because the experience of writing my story and teaching others what I know has not only led to a contract with a major publisher (Zondervan), but more importantly has led to ever-increasing freedom and flourishing in my own life. And that, honestly, is the point: if we just keep writing, something powerful begins to happen. Something transformative. Something liberating.
So, I'm writing on my blog and in my newsletter every week on the topics of calling, culture, and creativity. (Sometimes I write elsewhere, too.) And I'm also serving writers and businesses by building beautiful content-focused websites and offering comprehensive creative coaching.
Not too long ago, at exactly the moment I was ready for it, I felt words forming deep in my soul again, this time inspired by a TV detective (because obviously). Those words were:
And everything changed after I began to believe that.
So, thanks for joining me here as I just keep writing. If you want to, go ahead and jot this line down before you leave - because it's the truest thing I know:
Everything changes when we begin to believe the light is winning.— Zach Ho-Ho-Hoag 🎅🏻 (@zhoag) December 8, 2017
In the Details
Oh hey, you're still here! Well, how about a few more details about me?
- Yes, I have a beard—and not just in November either. I'm v fond of it.
- But the most important thing in my life is not a beard. It's not a thing at all. It's a four-person hurricane of love and amazingness known as Kalen, Gemma, Pippa, and Willa (my wife and three girls). Check out my Instagram to get to know us Hoags a bit more.
- For book publishing, I'm represented by the excellent Jenni Burke of DC Jacobson & Associates.
- My amazing editor at Zondervan Publishers is Stephanie Smith—check out her equally amazing newsletter!
- If our bodies are 60-90% water, you should know that in my case at least 50% of that is Café Bustelo.
- What about Zach, you ask? I'm just over here getting pelted directly the beard with snowballs:
In the Press
Here are some selections of my writing elsewhere, for your perusal: