On the Corner – Andy

by Robert Doctor

I couldn’t let the promotion to Glory of Andy Miller slip by, smothered with the excitement of an election of a new General, without comments concerning my friend Andy Miller—a commissioner in The Salvation Army and one of the finest men I’ve ever met.

The Army’s appointment procedures allowed him to make firm contribution of his monumental and magnificent personality on three U.S. territories, but, sadly, not the West. He was, however, the National Commander for several years during which I enjoyed his enormous persona, his magnetic charm, and his genuine and forceful spirituality.

With people he met anywhere, Andy always explored that person’s relationship with God. The sincerity of his exploration communicated an honest interest in others. He had such a winning way. No one, from the highest echelons of government and industry to the most desperate street person escaped his earnest, heartfelt searching for another soul for the kingdom.

Even casual, unplanned meetings became conversations in depth. I’ve rarely seen him without a spark in his eye, a bounce in his step, a smile on his face and a challenge in his voice.

I wanted someone who has Andy’s characteristics of genuineness and spiritual depth to share with you, so I asked Paul Rader, who knew him well, to share with you his perceptions of Andy Miller. His willingness to comply was immediate.

“Holiness on Steriods”
by General Paul A. Rader (Ret.)

Andy Miller was arguably one of the most colorful Salvation Army leaders ever. An original! Three descendents bear his name: a son, a grandson, and a great-grandson. The youngest, Andy IV, has yet to display his potential, but Major Andy II and Captain Andy III—and others of this eminent Army family are not unlike the original. Still, Andy, the first, was one of a kind.

“Tell me how to get right with God, Andy.” In the process of visiting and praying with the top executives of the largest corporations and financial institutions in New York when responsible for community development there, he had befriended the inquirer. “Don’t tell me to go to church. They’ll just put me on the finance committee.” Andy took out a Gospel of John and said, “I’ll tell you what I’d tell a derelict on the street.” And he led him to put his trust in Jesus as his Savior.

Some years ago, we were jogging together through a deserted state park in Georgia just before dawn. We came upon a woman sorting through the trash for discarded bottles and cans that she was stuffing into a garbage sack. She was alone, poor and very pregnant. Andy pulled up and greeted her cheerily. Within minutes we were standing together by the trash bin as Andy prayed for her and her unborn child. Then we ran on. I often stood in awe of his ability to move through a congregation as an invitation to Christ was being given, engaging one and another in whispered conversation, and then leading them to the mercy seat and beyond, to new life in Christ. He seemed to know when a person was on the cusp of life-changing decision and only needed a nudge. He was an incomparable recruiter for the Army and the kingdom.

True, Andy Miller became Commissioner Andrew S. Miller, our distinguished National Commander here in the USA. He was a consummate communicator, legendary fundraiser, visionary leader. He was creative and competent, with a heart for ordinary people. He was my friend. And very likely, your friend, too. He adored his family and was proud of them all, especially their loving special-needs daughter, Martha. He was a faithful exponent of scriptural holiness, which he saw as “Wholeness in Christ” by the power of the Spirit. He vowed to speak to someone daily about Jesus and he kept that promise. He was disciplined and dynamic and totally unpredictable. Constantly on the move, he was holiness on steroids!

Joan, the love of his life, was his tether and wise and candid counselor. When a Catholic cardinal, whom he had befriended, asked him if he had a personal chaplain as National Commander, he replied, “Yes, I married mine!”

“Best argument I’ve heard yet against priestly celibacy,” the cardinal responded.

There won’t be another Andy Miller. And that’s all right. He told me so. I was only 24. We were on a train to New York from Kentucky with the Asbury College Student Fellowship Band. He was our divisional youth secretary. “What a relief,” he said, “when I realized I didn’t have to win the world by myself. Not everyone will respond to me. But you reach yours and I’ll reach mine and together we’ll get the job done.”

Andy was who God made him without apology. He had given all that he knew of himself and his heart need to all that he knew of Jesus, his power and provision. Few have ever been more totally at their Savior’s disposal. And how remarkably God used him in all his uniqueness! None of us can be an Andy Miller, nor should we try to be. But we can follow him as he followed Christ, and allow the love of Christ to motivate us and move through us into the lives of others as he did. Andy would say, “Why not start now?”

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