Zac's Legacy – New life found in the aftermath of tragedy

Zac Young, was just 19-years-old when he was tragically killed by a shark off the NSW coast in November 2013.

Zac was an authentic and passionate young Christian whose life had been radically transformed by Jesus several years earlier.

His infectious zeal for following Jesus and making Him known impacted everyone he met.

It didn’t matter if you met Zac for five minutes or knew him for five years, a meeting with him would leave you knowing there’s a God who loves you and wants to transform your life too.

And, in spite of death, the legacy of his life continues to bring inspiration, challenge and transformation to others as another Zac can testify. 

Zac Parnell didn’t know Zac Young personally but was drawn to his memorial service in 2013 to support some mutual friends.

Just as Zac Young turned his life around through his relationship with Jesus, I decided to do the same.

- Zac Parnell

“I was blown away by the stories they shared that day about how he loved and cared for the people around him,” Zac recalls.

“We also had a lot in common – both came from a split family, both struggling with the partying scene, both looking for purpose and meaning, we even shared the same name.”

At the time Zac Parnell was 17-years-old and, having not grown up in a church community, knew little of Christianity. But this encounter with Zac’s story helped him realise what he had been searching for and became the catalyst for his own transformation in Jesus. He shares:

“Just as Zac Young turned his life around through his relationship with Jesus, I decided to do the same.

“I started going to Church every Sunday, I started reading the bible, praying, asking questions about God, finding answers, and living my life on purpose.

“Today everything I do is dedicated in some way or another towards helping others know and fall in love with Jesus, because for me this changed everything.”

Zac Parnell, pictured here with his wife, had his life tranformed by Jesus.

Zac is currently serving in mission with NET Ministries – encouraging young people to love Jesus and embrace the church.

Zac Young’s legacy shows how a life transformed by Jesus can multiply out to others.

It also poses a challenge to all believers: does our life visibly reflect Jesus in a way that inspires others to seek Him?