Zach Hunter is a teenage abolitionist and activist, spending much of his time working to end modern-day slavery around the world and fighting other problems in the world. When he was 12, he started a campaign called Loose Change to Loosen Chains to raise awareness and money to free people from slavery. The author of Be the Change, Zach speaks to hundreds of thousands of people each year, inspiring them to find their passion and make a change in the world.
ConversantLife: We were very excited to hear about the release of your latest book. What is ‘Lose Your Cool’ all about?
ZH: It’s my attempt to help readers discover a life of passion.
ConversantLife: Your book interviews various characters such as Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman, and tells the stories of characters such as famous missionary Amy Carmichael, or Don Quixote . What is one goal that you hope readers might find through these stories and interviews in your book?
ZH: I think we all learn better through stories. Jesus was a master story-teller. When you can help people see themselves in the lives of others – to read a story and say “yeah, I feel just like that” or “I can really relate” -- you can help them see the reality of their hopes and dreams. I tell people I have made friends with a lot of dead people. Kinda weird, I know. But, I have learned so much by reading and hearing the stories of others – especially those who have gone before us. And, then, of course, there are many people still living who have inspired me. People like Jon who have taught me a lot about walking a life of faith and hope in the midst of great suffering around the world.
ConversantLife: What prompted you to write this book? Was there a specific problem that you saw within your generation, or a problem area that you wanted to address?
ZH: It’s the whole “plugged in but not connected” idea. I read on Facebook pages the massive list of interests and spend a lot of time with teens around the world who feel like the problems in the world are overwhelming. Or, they spend their time just feeling bad, angry or sad about the injustice they see. Feelings never really helped solve problems – but God can use them to motivate us to ACT. I really want my generation to understand that they shouldn’t wait for someone else to address the problems – or someday when they have more time, more money, more influence but that YOU are the someone and TODAY is the day to bring hope, change and help.
ConversantLife: At the end of each chapter of the book you have 5 – 10 thoughtful questions that your readers can think on and answer. Do you think your book is best read in groups, with friends sharing their answer and starting conversations? Or were you aiming to just get thoughts started in an individual?
ZH: I’ve heard of whole youth groups who are doing the book together – and just small groups of friends who are meeting over coffee to talk about the ideas. But, I also know some people who are stepping through the book alone. At the end of the book I make suggestions about seeking out other people who can help you unpack what you discover about yourself through the questions in the book. Honestly, I’m always just amazed when I hear anyone has read one of my books. It’s an honor.
ConversantLife: What was the biggest thing you learned about passion, compassion, interest, and success through talking to all of the people highlighted in the book?
ZH: I had a great conversation with Melody Green (the widow of Keith Green) that was probably one of my favorites. I learned a lot from her about Keith’s passion for people. And, my conversations with Jon, Wes and Amena were also really inspiring to me. But, I think overall, what I came away with was a longing to live a life that’s fully alive and to know that we can use our intellect, our artistic talents, our business sense – anything – to bring about hope and help to others.
ConversantLife: You have been described in your ongoing work as “working to mobilize a new generation of activist,” can you tell us a little bit about what this looks like, and what your vision for this generation is?
ZH: I would love for my generation to be written about in the history books as one that gave up ourselves in service to others – and that this would be sustainable. A generation that launched a new peace, love and justice movement with God – motivated by a love for Him and a love for others.
ConversantLife: Zach, thanks for stopping by and letting us chat with you. We loved what you had to say in Lose Your Cool, and think it would be an inspirational book for anyone to pick up. What can we expect from you next?
ZH: It’s great to talk with your readers. Thanks for giving me the opportunity. I’ve got lots swirling in my head at the moment – I’m meeting with publishers about a possible fiction series I’m really excited about. I’ve also got a concept for a book on keeping imagination and wonder alive – that’s an idea that ‘s really close to my heart and something I really hope I get to do. I’ve also just participated in an audio devotional for a new film “To Save A Life.” It’s called Devo2Go and I think they’re making the first week available free to people. Very cool project and a film I think has the potential to impact my generation in a pretty big way.