The Piano Playing Pastor
Let’s be clear about this post. This post is the story of God’s sovereign grace in transforming a self-seeking nightclub piano player into a grateful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ known as the piano playing pastor. His name? George Miladin.
His musical ability began early . . . at five years of age. When his mother discovered that he had “perfect pitch,” she “pitched” him onto a piano bench. Trained by his aunt, who was a professional musician, he learned to play heavy classics, like Chopin’s Polonaise, though at times, there was a desire for baseball and a more masculine instrument like the trumpet!
George’s next period in his life, from ages 12–20, was spent in rebellion. No more piano, no more attendance at Sunday School, no more thinking about God, was the way he summarized it all up. From now on, it was going to be about him. So he took up the trumpet, and became so good at it, that he played with the Lawrence Welk band at the Aragon Ballroom, “tooting” his arrangement of Stardust. Graduating from high school, he traveled to Michigan with his trumpet. He contracted pneumonia there and in the process of recovery from it, he lost his “lip”. Returning to California, one of Hollywood’s best piano teachers took him on, and he practiced two hours a day, not in the classics of his youth, but in pop music. He came to the notice of a disc jockey of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, known at the mayor of Hollywood, who invited him to join his band to travel oversees to the Far East for troop entertainment. He made five such trips with that entertainment troupe. Pretty heady stuff, he acknowledged later, for an eighteen year old. When a contract could not be finalized for him to continue this dissolute life in Japan, he continued in his studies at U.C.L.A. In God’s providence, two events took place at this time.
First, a young starlet for whom he played the piano, tried and failed to commit suicide. George Miladin began to think on the things of eternity at that time. Second, God sent a young man with a Bible and an heart filled with love for the Lord Jesus into his life. After a few months of studying the Book of John with him, and attending worship at his church, the University Bible Church, George Miladin bowed the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. The pastor of that congregation was Milo Jamison who then encouraged the young convert to play the music for the worship services.
On or about the middle of May, in 1962, George Miladin was introduced to Reformed theology, and accepted it with his mind and heart. At the invitation of Dr. Robert Rayburn, he went to Covenant Theological Seminary. After graduation, with his wife Londa, whom he had married in 1958, he was ordained and served a number of Presbyterian Churches, including his last congregation in San Diego, where he would minister for 27 years. He continues today in the field of music, desiring to bring glory to God who has been so gracious to him. (Those who use the Trinity Hymnal in their worship, check out his musical arrangement for the Apostle’s Creed, at number 741 in the Hymnal.)
Words to Live By:
The good news is that God’s saving grace is not over. The Holy Spirit continues to arrest people in their downward sinful paths and bring them to Christ. It may be that this post will be used by that same Spirit of God to reach someone who is living for the world, as George Miladin was living at one time in his life. Let his story of redemptive grace speak to your heart and bring you to the Savior.
A few of the published works of Rev. Miladin:
Is this really the end?: A Reformed Analysis of The Late Great Planet Earth. (1972)
The Reformed Faith For the World Today and Tomorrow. (1974)
Getting it together in the home : a how to do it manual on family devotions. (1975)
Revolution, martyrdom, flight and reconstruction : a timely study of today’s Christians and their relationship to the “powers that be” (1976)
Knowing and Growing: A 5-Part Study Manual for New (and Old) Believers. (1980’s?)
Personal Evangelism Made Less Difficult. (1995)