What About Zach?

Like that movie with Bill Murray, only funnier.

My name is Zach Hoag, and I'm an author, preacher, and creator from New England. But mainly, I'm a light writer.

I have an "official" author bio, 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 hey, let's dig a little deeper.

On writing into the light:

So, I said I'm a light writer. Here's what I mean by that. My core calling is to write into the light. And writing into the light is equal parts revealing truth and radiating hope.

Revealing truth requires a brutal and sometimes prophetic honesty about our own story and the stories taking place in the world around us. And radiating hope requires seeking out the golden thread in all of those stories that leads us through the darkness to ever-increasing justice, freedom, and flourishing. All because the light himself, Jesus, has come into the world.

My journey of being and becoming a light writer has taken me across the blogosphere, through all kinds of publications, to the point of a book contract with a major publisher and a mission to help other writers and creators on their journey. But more importantly, it's taken me from a place of darkness and struggle to a place of light and liberation.

Here's another thing. I think there's a rising tide of light writers who are catching this same revealing truth/radiating hope vision and want to act on it. And if that's you, I hope you find some inspiration and support here in your writing journey. (If you want, you can request to join our Facebook Group. And stay tuned for a new space with new resources dedicated to light writers like us!)

Here's a little more about me:

My story starts with growing up in a ministry family and being connected to the life of the church for as long as I can remember. I embraced a sincere faith as a little kid, and a powerful sense of calling was planted deep within me during those early years, intensifying as I got older. This calling eventually led to my wife and I planting a church in one of the least churched cities in the U.S. – Burlington, VT.

Throughout the life of our church plant, I became passionate about seeing the church engage culture instead of escaping it, and embrace people instead of excluding them. We were an evangelical church, but my deepest desire was for us to include and impact the people of our progressive city. Out of that experience, I wrote my first book – about the gospel of Jesus and a TV serial killer named Dexter, no less! 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, an apocalyptic kind of season was triggered in my life, revealing 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'm convinced he answered, "Just keep writing."

And I haven't stopped since.

My experience these last five years has seen both a progression of my faith and theology, and a re-centering of it all on Jesus, as my light writer journey has unfolded.

What this site is all about:

On this site, I'm writing into the light - on faith, culture, and creativity. You can expect one post each week (Tuesday-ish) on faith/culture, and one post each week (Thursday-ish) on creativity. And of course, you can look for The Letter Z in your inbox every Sunday morning - that's where I share my best, most exclusive writing and insight.

If you're new around here and looking for a place to start reading, head over to The Classics - that's where you'll find some of the oldies, goodies, and popular stuff!

This is also a place for the services I can offer to writers, creators, businesses, and nonprofits in the way of website design and coaching. I believe in doing sustainable work that helps you sustain your work too - as part of a broader vision of an honest, modest, and flourishing life. You won't ever hear me selling big-money-making Internet marketing tactics - because that stuff is BS. But you will hear me talking about finding ways to support your creative work - because a sustainable life is central to loving our neighbors and seeking economic justice in church and society.

Parting thoughts:

Not too long ago, at exactly the moment I was ready to hear it, God spoke to me again, this time through a TV detective (because obviously!). He said, "The light is winning."

And everything changed after I began to believe that.

So, thanks for joining me here as I continue to write into the light. If you want to, go ahead and jot this line down before you leave - because it's the truest thing I know:

[clickToTweet tweet="Everything changes when we begin to believe the light is winning." quote="Everything changes when we begin to believe the light is winning."]

Blessings,  Zach

Extra Credit

If you've made it this far, here are a few more things you might want to know about me:

  • For book publishing, I'm represented by the wonderful Jenni Burke of DC Jacobson & Associates.
  • And I'm excited to be releasing my first book with a major publisher, Zondervan, in 2017. It's called THE LIGHT IS WINNING: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life. (Big ups to my editor Stephanie Smith - check out her newsletter!)
  • The most important thing in my life is not a thing - it's a four-person hurricane of love and amazingness known as Kalen, Gemma, Pippa, and Willa (my wife and three girls).
  • I love the messy-middle, liturgical-and-missional, personal-and-social-gospel focus of the Methodist tradition. I attend a local United Methodist church, and I even get to preach sometimes! (Also, this is how religion is bringing me back to life.)
  • If our bodies are 60-90% water, you should know that in my case at least 50% of that is Café Bustelo.