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..
“The first time I heard about Craig I was very impressed with his reputation. Most worship leaders I have seen or heard seemed to be focused on their personal career more than actually leading people to the throne room of God. What I was told about Craig was confirmed in how he lead worship. He is a guy driven by passion and love for music that glorifies Jesus Christ above all else. He is a humble guy not bent on receiving accolades, praise, or popularity but simply wants the people he is leading in worship to experience Christ more through the lifting up of their voices to the King. His skills and enthusiasm are intertwined with his heart to worship. After inviting him several times to come and lead worship he has become a very close and dear friend to me and I never need to doubt his integrity or his character because he lives for Christ in every aspect of his life.”
Rick Emerson, Student Minister, Tulsa, OK
"Over the years that I've seen Craig come into his own as a worship leader, his ability to lead with sincerity has become his trademark within our group. Anyone can lead music, but Craig reminds us of the pure joy in worshiping, the pure beauty in introspection, and the pure truth of the God we worship. It's always a joy to serve with him."
Eric Farmer, Youth Pastor, Hong Kong
“I love Craig and you will too! Craig is a not just a musician—He is a worship leader. I have been in Student ministry for over 15 years and I have been to and spoken at camps, retreats and conferences all over the country. I have encountered a lot of great musicians… but very few worship leaders. Craig is a worship leader! Craig understands the power of leading people and he has the ability to create an atmosphere of excitement and passion that is contagious and worship takes place.”
Donnie Smith, Pastor, Austin, TX
"Our ministry has been blessed to work with Craig for the last 3 years. His ability as a musician and vocalist is top notch. However, his love for Jesus is what really impresses me. The way Craig leads is clearly an overflow of what the Lord is doing in his life. From the preparation he puts into each set, to the way he takes time to truly pastor those he is leading, Craig relentlessly fights to create a worship environment that is focused solely on Christ. It has been a blessing to partner with Craig over the years, and I look forward to continuing work with him."
Ian Rock, Student Pastor, Austin, TX
"Craig Rigney is one of the most humble and gifted worship leaders you'll find. In a day of gaudy worship presentations and entertainment driven worship atmospheres, Craig offers something uniquely different: A humble approach to worship that drives others to look first at God and not all the stuff. In the current worship climate, this is a rare thing."
Steve Hayes, Pastor, Corsicana, TX
"I work very closely with Craig and I can honestly say that I hope I will be able to work with him forever. Ever since I first met him and learned his vision of worship I knew that I had to stick with this guy no matter what. He doesn't care about fame. He doesn't care about all the fluff. He simply wants people to meet Jesus through theologically rich music. He understands the issues and dilemmas facing the worship world today. He get's it. And he is one of the few worship leaders I know who is just as concerned with the theological accuracy of the music as he is with the sound of it."
Robert Johnson, Discipleship Pastor, Allen, TX
"Craig brings a transparent ,and more importantly a Biblical approach to worship. Whether it is just him and his guitar, or his entire band there is no singing of songs, but authentic worship of a Holy God. Simply stated, that is his Response."
Jake Tubbs, Student Pastor, Rockwall, TX