Ministering to Souls through Music
Andy Figueroa is using worship music grounded in theology to bring a little bit of heaven to earth
Andy Figueroa (MAT '13) was part of one of the first teams to arrive in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, serving at a rescue camp with aid workers from over 20 other countries. During one of his first days at the camp, he encountered a Haitian man singing worship songs in Creole with his guitar.
The music drew in those who were nearby. Many, like Andy, began to join in. Soon, a group of two dozen aid workers and locals were dancing, singing, and worshipping together, each in his or her own language.
"It was such a powerful declaration of joy in the midst of adversity and chaos," recalls Andy. "It was a determined type of joy, it was a choice to trust in God, and it was music that ministered to our souls."
"I remember thinking that this is what heaven must be like."
Andy left Haiti wanting to use his own musical talents to create experiences like this for others. A pastor's son from Puerto Rico, he had grown up helping lead worship in his father's church--"church was my music school," he says--but he wasn't sure what that might translate into for his future. He was drawn to Fuller to help clarify his call, enrolling in the MA in Theology program with an emphasis in Worship, Theology, and the Arts.
"I wanted a solid theological framework to understand why I do what I do--why music and the arts draw my attention," says Andy, whose interest in the arts ranges from undergraduate film studies to playing piano for a Latino pop rock band, Radial, that formed in Puerto Rico.
"Fuller helped me understand the importance of artists who are not trying to do 'Christian art,' but just art that is true and honest," he says. "It taught me that if I create art that helps people pause or reflect and ask themselves the difficult questions of life, those moments create space for an encounter with God."
From his first days at Fuller Andy began attending Mosaic, a church in urban Los Angeles. "I was drawn to the church's discourse, their culture," he says.
It didn't take long before he was volunteering on the worship team. "Being part of worship is second nature to me, from my experience as a kid," he says. "I have a real passion for helping people connect to Jesus, and worship is an important element in that."
On a Friday last August, Andy handed in his final paper for his last class at Fuller. "I was done!" he recounts. "Then, the following Tuesday, I got an email from one of the pastors at Mosaic, asking if I wanted to meet for coffee." That coffee meeting, it turns out, was a job offer. Andy now serves as a paid member of the worship leadership staff, helping plan the music and mobilize the teams. And he loves it
"Sometimes during a service," he reflects, "I catch myself looking around at everyone worshipping . . . and being so thankful to be a part of this, thinking there's no place I'd rather be."
Meet more people like Andy here.
Andy belongs to a community of Fuller Seminary students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends that is over 53,000 strong. We exist for all those who want to engage and inspire the world for Christ, wherever God has called them. Every job is ministry, every day holy, and every conviction worth sharpening. Learn more about joining our community.