"Roots" Out Now – Listen to Jimmy McNeal's Latest EP
Growing up in a large extended family in south Dallas, Jimmy McNeal's musical journey began singing and leading worship at the Waxahachie Miracle Revival Center, the church his grandfather pastored and the place he first met Jesus.
His upbringing honored the gospel music and traditionals that his forefathers sang, and Jimmy's love of those genres grew alongside his passion for modern worship.
Today, Jimmy serves as a worship pastor and elder at the Austin Stone Church in Austin, TX, and travels around the country leading worship for various conferences and ministries. Jimmy's energy and passion for God are contagious, and he leads worship out of an overflow of this love for Jesus.
Jimmy is at home in many different styles of worship music, aiming to see Jesus glorified in his voice and leading, but gospel music will always be his roots.
What's your favorite aspect of being a worship leader?
As a worship leader at The Austin Stone Community Church, Jimmy has a sincere desire for the body of Christ to devote their whole lives to worshiping God not only inside, but outside the walls of the church building. His loyalty to the local church is an inspiration to many. But as a young man, growing up in Waxahachie, TX, he had no clue this would be the road that God would take him on. He feels extremely blessed to be under such great church leadership at The Austin Stone and to be part of an amazing church community. Jimmy is humbled that God would allow him to do what he is doing. This was all a part of God's handiwork from one dream to the next.
Did you always want to be a worship leader growing up?
“I’m living a dream I didn’t even know I had” is a phrase Jimmy uses often when speaking about his career. He had big dreams of using the money he would make as an NFL linebacker to fund his career as an R&B artist. His first shot at fame came with his appearance on American Idol. Although he was cut shortly after becoming a top 40 finalist, Jimmy knew that God was preparing him for something different. "God used this opportunity to bring me to a place of complete surrender. I remember reading Luke 9:23-24 over and over again, praying and asking God to do with my life what He pleased … just to simply have His way within me." Jimmy had all his goals and dreams lined up and being a worship leader wasn’t on the radar. He would be the first to tell you that he did not want to be a Worship Leader. It wasn't until God began to reveal to him a calling to and passion for worship that he began to pursue it.