Paul makes a simple call to Christians: “whether you eat or drink, (or work, or speak) whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10: 31 NLT). It sounds simple, and at the same time, if we are honest with ourselves, it is unquestionably challenging. Serving God requires focus and commitment, but the rewards are many. In my recent interview with Robert Amaya, South Florida resident and Christian actor, he pointed to 1 Corinthians 10:31 as his guiding verse. His commitment to serving God with his gifts and the joy that emerges, as a result, shine through his professional and spiritual endeavors.
Robert is best known as Javier in the popular Christian movie “Courageous.” When asked about what he liked most about the movie, he shared that he enjoyed the opportunity to play this role because it reminded him of his own father’s struggles to survive and raise his family. He is the son of immigrant parents; his mom Maria is from Cuba, and his father Roberto is from El Salvador.
Robert was a University of Florida “Gator” for a year and a half before he was offered a recording contract and left to pursue his dream of serving God as a professional actor and singer. He is a seasoned actor and has had the opportunity to perform in numerous productions including “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” “Les Miserables,” “Miss Saigon,” and “You Can’t Take It With You.” He was also part of the Walt Disney World Company’s Voices of Liberty. Robert and his wife Colleen, high school sweethearts, are currently worship leaders and children’s ministry actors in their Miami church. “Working with children is what got me into comedy,” says Amaya.
Robert Amaya believes that acting in Christian films is a way to glorify God, and it is very rewarding. For him, the reward of acting in a major film is not in the recognition and status, but rather in seeing how God is working in people’s lives through the film. He said, “The reward was that everyone that spoke to me came with a story of how God somehow touched them or their family or loved one because of that character [Javier].”
Amaya has acted in both Christian and secular productions and says both require hard work and sacrifices, but the overall goal of honoring God through the experience is unique to the Christian productions. “Being a part of Christian film is bigger than any one person or thing. It’s about God,” he said. “Someday, people will stop talking about the ‘Snake King,’[his character in Courageous] but they will never forget when their dad came back home, or when their marriage was saved, or when they decided to surrender their life to Christ – all because they watched a movie that touched their hearts and pointed to Christ.” Amaya said he believes Christian films are filling a void that exists in family films and are a great way to point people to Christ and teach them what it means to be a Christian.
He has recently completed two films. Amaya played in a supporting role in “Mom’s Night Out” in which he plays Marco, a rookie dad of high-energy twin boys. Mom’s Night Out was released on May 9, 2014 and is a light-hearted comedy about four moms in need of a night out together and the escapades that unfold as the dads take the kids for the night. Additionally, he debuts in his first starring role as Pastor John in a comedy called “Altar Egos,” also released in 2014.
Regarding the actor he admires most, Robert said, “There are many I admire for their talents. However, one that just keeps me watching him over and over is Kevin James, [who plays the lead role in King of Queens].” He added, “I believe he is a brilliant comedic actor, and I would love to do a film with him.”
Later this year, Robert is releasing a bilingual praise and worship album of some of his favorite inspiring songs with Sherwood Music. Between projects, Robert sings and speaks at English-speaking and Spanish-speaking churches, organizations and schools throughout the nation on fatherhood and Christianity. He can be contacted through PremiereSpeakers.com. To follow him on Twitter go to @RobertAmayaJr.
Dr. Terry Morrow Nelson is the President of Morrow and Associates Partnership for Leadership and Transformation and a Certified Christian Conciliator. She also serves as an assistant dean and assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University.