Craig Rigney’s passion for worship was sparked at the age of fourteen. Raised in church, with family members in ministry, Craig grew up familiar with life in the ministry and was no stranger to the sacrifices and challenges inherent to living a life worthy of the gospel. Faced with these challenges, Craig realized where ultimate life and joy was found, and decided he would live his life in service of the One who freely gives it.
Immediately plugging into the Student Ministry in his church outside of Dallas, Texas, Craig was blessed by spiritual mentors and built relationships with people that continue to today. “The four years I spent with these leaders were by far the most formative years of my early Christian life. Years later, it’s amazing to see how much fruit came out of that ministry; so many people who are now in vocational ministry all over the world, and I’m blessed to continue some of those friendships even today.” During those years, Craig’s passion for worship grew as he began playing drums in the youth worship band. His skill and talent quickly noticed at school, he was placed on an award winning drum line after only playing drums for a short time. At the same time, Craig began playing guitar as well. By the end of his junior year, he was leading the youth worship band, leading gatherings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and still playing in the drum line for the school band.
In 2003, at age seventeen, he graduated high school and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to serve as a Youth Ministry intern and attend Missouri Baptist University. There his relationship with Christ matured, as did his leadership skills and experience as a worship leader. Regularly leading at his home church as well as playing at MBU and multiple churches around the St. Louis area, his leadership skills really began to develop as he had the opportunity to expand the demographics of his audiences.
Two years later Craig moved back to Dallas where he led worship for the Student and College Ministries at Irving Bible Church. Intensely fruitful relationships there with the Worship Pastor and the College Pastor powerfully shaped Craig’s vision and theology of worship, “I was really challenged to go beyond making great music and doing simple ministry, to learning what really makes an impact in the church and in people’s lives on and off the stage; I soon realized how important it is for a worship leader to also be a theologian and a pastor, and to put to action and lead the way in the things we sung about outside of the church walls.” In 2006, he enrolled at Criswell Bible College where he led worship twice weekly in chapel services, and graduated in 2010 with a degree in Biblical Studies. By this time, still leading at Irving Bible, Craig was also leading consistently all around the Dallas area and weekly at First Baptist Colleyville with a band he formed at this time – the Craig Rigney Band (pretty original, eh?). That year, they released their first album which can be found on iTunes under the title, Worship EP. The Craig Rigney Band continued to grow as a ministry as they led regularly in local churches around Dallas, and traveled all over the country playing DiscipleNows, retreats, conferences, and summer camps.
In the summer of 2010, Craig accepted a full-time position to lead worship at The Fellowship Round Rock just outside of Austin, TX. Traveling between Dallas and Austin for a year, he grew in experience and leadership as the church substantially grew spiritually and numerically. In June 2011, Craig made the permanent move to Austin and became the Worship Pastor at Real Life Austin, a church plant that was labeled one of the fastest growing churches in Austin during Craig’s time there.
Today, Craig lives in Austin still, loves it, and regularly leads worship at Fellowship Hutto, The Fellowship Round Rock, Austin Christian Fellowship, and other churches in the area including The Austin Stone, Austin Ridge Bible Church, as well as continuing to take his ministry all over the country and the world in places such as Hong Kong, Thailand, the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom, where he was able to combine his passion for worship, missions, and development. His heart and passion is to see Christ glorified not only through excellent music, but by building relationships and leading people to Jesus on and off a stage, and leading people to respond to all of who Jesus is, and what He has done, with the entirety of their lives..