The Praetorian Project: Who We Are
By: Brian O’Day
What’s the Praetorian Project? First, let’s change the question: Who is the Praetorian Project? We are people, called by God, for a very specific mission. We are a family of multiplying churches in military communities worldwide.
We are a family. Sure, we have a statement of beliefs and a few other documents, but first and foremost we are a family. We love each other and we like each other. We enjoy spending time around one another.
For our pastors and church planters, one of our favorite events each year on our calendars is when we get together with our wives and children for our annual Family Retreat. We’re connected, not just as pastors, but as families. It would be easier for me to tell my kids that they’re not getting Christmas presents than to tell them that we’re not going to the family retreat.
For our church members, especially those in the military, when they leave one Pillar Church and move to another community with another Pillar Church, they walk in on the first Sunday and almost always see a familiar face. “Ah yes, there is someone familiar. With all the change accompanying this move, here is something familiar.”
Of multiplying churches. We are a family of church families. Each of our church families is committed to multiplying themselves and planting more churches. We believe that God is going to call men who are currently working other jobs, or are in High School or College, to devote their lives to starting a new church. We believe that families will choose to leave the church they love to go out and start a new church somewhere else.
And we’re seeing that happen! By God’s grace, we see men being called into the ministry and families being called to join these new churches all the time! It is exciting to be a part of!
In military communities. We are not exclusively military churches- we are churches in military communities. We want to see the Gospel bridge the divides that are in our communities between civilians and the military. We want to worship the Lord together in deep fellowship.
We started this effort focused on the Marine Corps. Our first goal was to plant a multiplying church in four regions so that we could be accessible to 80% of the Marine Corps. (Check out our first video about this mission!)
Currently, we are seeking to reach the US Military by intentionally planting in three regions where there is a strong concentration of multiple branches of the US Military as well as a strong contingent of veterans who stay in that area. (Check out our 10-year video here.)
We believe that as we do this, we will continue to be more and more able to reach the nations through our churches and our collective efforts.
Worldwide. This last word is both accurate and aspirational.
It is accurate because, on any given day, we have members of our churches deployed all over the world. This reality is more and more true as we grow into new locations. It is also accurate because our church in Okinawa, Japan is planting a church to reach Okinawans. They have used the foothold of planting a Pillar Church reaching US military and other English speakers on the island to reach the nation in which they reside.
Worldwide is also accurate because our churches are not merely seeking to reach the military. Instead, like all faithful churches, our churches are heavily involved in missions work around the world. Church planting initiatives in Iceland, Indonesia, and the Middle East, are just a few of the efforts our churches are engaged in to reach the nations.
Worldwide is also aspirational. We do not believe that our efforts are to be limited to reaching the US Military. We have been commissioned by our Lord Jesus to “make disciples of all nations” and we join the host of Christians working towards that end.
We are a family of multiplying churches in military communities worldwide.
Allow me to conclude with a few other thoughts about who we are.
We are Military, Veterans, and Civilians. Our churches are comprised of all of the above. The percentage of these categories varies quite widely based on the age of the church and the military community where the church is based, but all have or soon will have all of the above.
We Have Many Military Veteran Pastors. Most of our churches have a military veteran on pastoral staff and many have been planted by a military veteran. This experience helps us to know the unique culture that we are called to reach.
We have many active-duty pastors/elders in our churches. We practice a plurality of pastors/elders in our churches including those on staff and those who are not. These practices allow us to have many active-duty service members serving as pastors/elders in our churches (not to mention deacons, small group leaders, worship leaders, greeters, etc!).
Pastors Called in Our Churches. Many of our pastors received their call into full-time ministry while they were members of one of our churches. We anticipate continuing to see this happen!
Thank you for taking the time to get to know a bit about us. We would love to stay connected with you. Please take a moment to sign up for our monthly email newsletter so that you can stay connected with us!