Thursday, July 03, 2008

Youth Ministry through the Judges: Shamgar

The third judge over Israel was Shamgar. What can we learn from him in reference to youth ministry? Here are some thoughts...

Shamgar (Judges 3.31)

"After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel." (3.31) & "In the days of Shamgar son of Anath" (5.6 in Deborah's song)

  • "After Ehud came Shamgar" - this phrase makes me think about younger siblings. "After Eric came Joni." Eric is the star athlete, gets good grades and is liked by everyone. Oh the shoes that Joni has to fill! No matter what you do, it is hard to measure up. A lot of younger siblings get lost in the mix. They go virtually unnoticed. I'm not saying you (the youth worker) do not acknowledge them or give them responsibility. I'm saying that a lot of times the younger sibling gets lost in the shadow of the older sibling. They never get to be who they are, apart from big brother or sister. Be careful not to just lump in younger siblings with their older siblings and expect them to be similar.
  • When asked who Shamgar was, most people would not know he was a judge. You might say he is not well known and went unseen. Reminds me of a lot of teenagers I know. Many teenagers go unnoticed. Even when they do great things, it is tough for them to get noticed. (Isn't it strange that the teens who are labeled bad get remembered more often?)
  • There doesn't appear to have been a time of struggle and rebellion for the people of Israel between Ehud and Shamgar. Youth ministry can happen without fights and struggles, at least for a period of time.
  • We know very little about him. Many times we feel this way about the teens we work with. You can spend an hour talking to a teen and not learn anything about them. To go beyond surface level conversation takes initiation by you. You have to be purposeful about asking questions and listening to what is said (and not said) if you want to get to know the students better.
  • Look at the account of Deborah beginning in Judges 4.1, "After Ehud died." What about Shamgar? Why overlook him? Funny how we often forget (ignore?) certain people like they were never there. Have you done that to a student in your ministry before?

next up Deborah

(go to YM Lessons from Judges to find more)

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