Dave Meigs

David Meigs is a novelist with a background in youth outreach, specializing in ministry to at-risk youth and their families. Though his writing is enjoyed by all ages, his novels provide a unique, life-changing quality, critical for the youth of today. David and his family lives in Seabeck, Washington, where he serves his church as youth pastor.

Writing Memorable Novels

A slow train coming.

I swore I would never do it, but I recently joined Facebook. Over the last couple of years, I have received many invitations from colleagues, friends, or family, urging me to join. They would list several practical advantages to joining, all of which were quite reasonable. I wasn’t tempted. I even resisted the advice of several respectable publishing experts who touted the benefits of Facebook to help build that all-important platform—critical to the success of any aspiring writer. Still I resisted.

After all, I already had an account at and at (both of which I love), so I felt I had paid my social-networking dues. And let’s not forget all the other writer’s groups and social networking groups I already belong to, and don’t even get me started about MySpace, Twitter . . . I do not have enough hours in the day to stay plugged into the networking sites I already belong to. No way was I going to join another group.

So what finally persuaded me to join Facebook? Pictures. After the house fire last year, I had lost all of our pictures. Fortunately, our relatives had plenty of photographs of our children, which we were able to copy. Our photo albums may not be as robust as they once were, but thanks to Grandma and Grandpa, we once again have all the kids’ school portraits and the like.

Unfortunately, I had no way to replace the photos from my YWAM days. Oh, I still had one picture that occupied a spot on my desk in my office at the church. It was a picture of me standing alongside two other YWAMers near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. I always loved that picture. It reminded me of the good old days. But looking at it now, that lone solitary picture only served to remind me of all the pictures I’d lost. So many good times—so many wonderful memories.

Then one day I decided to do a Google search of my former YWAM School of Evangelism, located at Hurlach, Germany; better known as the castle. Next, I did a search of my old classmates. Bingo! Within minutes I found a webpage devoted to our graduating class. After finding an old friend’s e-mail address, I sent him a message proclaiming my joy at seeing photographs of all the old gang after more than three decades. He wrote back urging me to join Facebook, promising that several of the old gang was also there. I signed up immediately. For the next several days, I got little else done besides tracking down old friends and family on Facebook, all the while kicking myself for not joining sooner.

But then something unexpected happened. I started receiving friend requests from scores of men and women who had at one time or another been in one of my youth programs. It was wonderful! Many of these people I had continued to pray for to this very day. Some of them remembered me from my Youth for Christ days, and others I had served as their youth pastor, Sunday School teacher, or Royal Ranger commander. Many of these former youth sent me messages thanking me for the impact I had on their lives. It was such a blessing, especially considering that most of these “kids” now had teenagers of their own. And at least one of them has a grandkid. Suddenly, I feel so old.

The way our memories work.

I asked many of them this one question: “What one message or lesson do you remember from all the things I taught you?”

But I already knew the answer before I ever asked it. They didn’t remember any message or lesson. Not even one. However, nearly every one of them could tell me about some illustration or story that I had told them. More important, all of them said that they knew that I loved them, and that my relationship with them helped to shape the rest of their lives. I didn’t expect to hear that. I was doubly blessed.

What books do you remember best?

If you are like me, you read a lot of novels—perhaps hundreds each year. To some extent, I enjoy nearly all of the books I read; nevertheless, only a few of them seem to make a permanent place for themselves in my memory. Most novels, no matter how well written, seem to fade away after a few months. Sadly, one story fades into another, and the characters seem to disappear into an ever-growing cast of unknown and yet strangely familiar faces.

Let’s admit it: No writer wants his or her hard work to fade from the reader’s memory like a silly dream upon awakening. We want our stories to remain firmly in the reader’s memory as if it were an old friend. More than that, we want our novels to make a difference in the reader’s life. Isn’t that what life-transforming fiction is all about?

The most powerful tool I know.

In my own ministry toolbox, one tool carries unbelievable power to change lives. It is also the tool most common to all inspirational writers. Moreover, it can be summed up in just one word: story. And nobody has demonstrated the power of story better than our Lord. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus used parables to teach the most important of eternal truths.

Story has the muscle to open the doors of the human heart. Story holds the key to capturing the imagination like nothing else. Story can disarm even the strongest of defense mechanisms. Story has the capacity to bring hope where none existed before. And story has the ability to demonstrate truth to the most skeptical of minds.

Over the years, I have often marveled at the way even the hardest of kids would drop their guards as they listened to the story illustrations I told them. It is a beautiful thing to watch the light of understanding ignite in the eyes of a listening youth. Even the strongest of defense barriers would drop as they identified the often hidden secrets of their own lives with the characters and circumstances of the story I would tell them.

So what kind of story is remembered better than all the others? It is the one that best hits the bull’s-eye of the reader’s heart and imagination. And nothing can find that mark better than a well-written demonstration of God’s amazing love. And as was proved by the memories of my former youth on Facebook, only love and the power of story were able to stand the test of time.

Until next month, I wish you all the best at crafting that truly unforgettable story. And if you see me at Facebook and discover we are not already friends, hit me up.