Welcome, friend! My name is Zach Hoag, and I'm an author, preacher, and creator from New England. But mainly, I'm a light writer.
My core calling is writing into the light. Meaning, I make it my mission to reveal truth and radiate hope in everything I write and create. The revealing truth part is the hard, often prophetic work of pushing past pretense within us and around us to get to the Real. And the radiating hope part is keeping Jesus - the Light - at the center of it all and focusing on the flourishing life he offers to us.
My hope is that you'll find more light for your life in what you read here. And if you're a writer, my hope is that you'll find inspiration to write into the light too.
A Little More About Me
So, here's my "official" bio, if you're interested:
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.
And here's my "unofficial" story:
It 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. And, my decision to listen and "just keep writing" has led to a book contract with Zondervan Publishers for my forthcoming title, THE LIGHT IS WINNING: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life.
Here & Now
Here on this site, I'm writing into the light on faith, culture, and creativity. You can browse each of those categories to get started, or you can check out some of my more popular/influential articles:
And now in my life, I am finding belonging, in a full-circle but brand-new kind of way, in the Vermont countryside where I live with my wife, Kalen, and three girls, Gemma, Pippa, and Willa (who are the joy of my life). We have come through that apocalyptic season after the end of our church plant, which brought on so many other endings as well, and we are inching towards genuine flourishing. It's right there on the horizon, and it can't come fast enough!
Part of the flourishing I'm finding has to do with living this new creative life, writing books and articles and making things on the Internet - like websites and digital content. I've been writing and creating like this for more than five years now, and I'm passionate about helping people and organizations radiate their message online. If you're looking for some help in that regard, take a look at my Services.
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:
Oh wait, here are a few extra details...
- 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!)
- 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.