September 11th and Making Disciples In Military Communities

September 11, 2001 changed the direction of my life. Ultimately, it has led me to devote my life’s work to making disciples of Jesus Christ in military communities. I encourage you to join me on this journey.

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September 11th and Making Disciples In Military Communities

By: Brian O’Day

September 11, 2001 changed the direction of my life. Ultimately, it has led me to devote my life’s work to making disciples of Jesus Christ in military communities. I encourage you to join me on this journey.

A few months before 9/11, God saved me from a life that was being built around me. I was 20 years old, and I was building my life on anything and everything that I thought would make me happy. Thankfully, God saved me from that life.

When 9/11 happened, God used it to awaken a desire that I had put to the side: to join the U.S. Marine Corps. In high school, I wanted to join the Marines because I believed the commercials. If I could be a Marine, I would be one of the few and the proud that can actually make it. And oh yeah, I would have earned the privilege to wear the best uniform known to mankind: U.S. Marine Corps Dress Blues. 

But God drew me to military service for a different reason after 9/11. The reason I wanted to join now was to serve- to give my life as a ransom for others. I was convinced that joining the Marines in the wake of 9/11 included a very high probability of dying young, and I was willing to do that. After all, my new Savior, Jesus Christ, gave His life as a ransom for me. I was willing to die so that others may live in peace.

But as I entered the Marine Corps, I found that it was immensely difficult to live as a Christian in the Marine Corps. Frankly, I failed quite miserably at it for my first few years. I was serving, deploying to combat, getting better at my job each day, willing to die to defend the Constitution and the freedoms it affords, but my Christian witness was nearly non-existent,

Thankfully, God does not leave His children in that state. He led me to live as a light of His Gospel among the Marines with which I served. Of course, I wasn’t perfect, but growth in this area became evident over time. 

As God was changing me, I found that there were thousands of people like me. Thousands of Christians in the military were struggling to live out their Christian walk. What did I do in response? I sought to disciple them in the Lord as much as I could.

I also found that there were thousands in the military who were antagonistic to the Gospel when they were around one another in crowds, but one-on-one they desperately desired to know God through His Son Jesus Christ. What did I do in response? I helped lead them to Christ as much as I could.

At this point, I had a new expanded vision for my military service. Yes, I still needed to serve well and be willing to die for the freedom of others. But now I also knew that I had another mission: Make disciples among the military.

A few years after this crystalized in my mind and I was beginning to walk in this new vision, God called me to leave my active-duty service and devote full-time to Gospel ministry. I was to plant a church where disciples were making disciples among the military community.    

I talked to my church’s pastors and learned that they desired to see the same thing happen! I knew that the little church we were a part of was doing what I desired to see, and I quickly learned that they desired to plant many more churches that would be doing the same: making disciples among the military community. 

Over 10 years later, that’s what we’ve been doing: making disciples in military communities worldwide. We call this work, The Praetorian Project, and I want you to join us.

If you are a member of one of our churches, prayerfully make the change that I had to make in my career. In addition to serving well in the military, make it your aim to make disciples among the military community.

If you are outside of our churches, partner with us in this important work. We would love to have you link arms with us to make disciples of Jesus Christ in military communities worldwide. Learn more at PraetorianProject.org.

It all started for me on 9/11. It will not end until people from every tribe, nation, and tongue are worshipping Jesus around His throne.

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