Jerry Allen Miller, 84, who led an innovative cycling ministry during more than two decades with Mennonite Board of Missions, died July 30 in Goshen, Ind.
Miller’s career of Christian service began in 1964 with a two-year Voluntary Service term in Puerto Rico. He worked for MBM from 1966 to 1982, first as a VS administrator and, beginning in 1970, as director of Out-Spokin’, a cycling ministry that built Christian community. Participants bonded through biking and receiving hospitality from churches along their routes.
Former Out-Spokin’ staff members praised Miller’s leadership. Sherm Kauffman, who served as a spiritual resource person on a seven-week ride from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, said Miller “gave servant leadership to one of MBM’s most creative ministries.” John Drescher-Lehman said, “Jerry’s magic was this: When you trust someone to lead and allow for fun and failure, growth will most likely occur.” Sandy Drescher-Lehman, John’s wife, said she and John “wouldn’t have even gotten married 40 years ago if it weren’t for Jerry!”
Stan Miller, who began as a summer volunteer and later became Out-Spokin’s assistant director, admired Miller’s ability to mold young people into cohesive units. One of Jerry Miller’s greatest joys was seeing people with less than desirable attitudes unite into an efficient work crew
From 2000 to 2003, Miller and his wife, Becky, hosted the London Mennonite Centre, where they maintained public areas, guest rooms and gardens. During teaching seminars, they prepared and served meals.
Miller also worked in admissions and recruitment for Eastern Mennonite University and was catering manager for Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, Ind.
He was a member of Eighth Street Mennonite Church in Goshen.
Miller was born Feb. 14, 1938, to Bernice A. (Richardson) and Wallace L. Miller in Dover, Ohio.
He and his wife, Rebecca Ellen (Miller), who survives, both attended Eastern Mennonite University and were married in 1963. He is also survived by a sister, Carol M. Zimmerly of Kidron, Ohio, and numerous nieces and nephews.