Dr. Lorenzo T. Neal is a native of Monroe, Louisiana and current pastor of the New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jackson, MS. In preaching ministry for nearly 30 years, Dr. Neal has overcome many challenges including the tragic death of his mother in 1980 to gun violence. He accepted his call to preach at the age of 12 at the Riverside Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. CR Jackson, and was licensed to preach at the age of 16. He was ordained to the ministry at Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, AR under Dr. R. J. Lightsey, Sr at the age of 20 and served as Youth Pastor and Pastor of Worship there and later at Family Time Ministries with Pastor Michael E Williams, Sr. He later joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church under the the late Rev. Mack Talley and Dr. W.R.Norful, Sr. and in 1999 was re-obligated as an Itinerant Deacon under Bishop Frederick Hilborn Talbot. In 2001, He was ordained an Itinerant Elder in the AME Church under Bishop Richard Allen Chappelle, Sr. He went on to serve as pastor of Mt. Zion, Palestine, and Tyree Temple AME Churches in the 12th Episcopal District of the AME Church before being transferred to the 8th Episcopal District and serving at Union Bethel in Amelia, LA.
Dr. Neal has a B.S from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff ( GO GOLDEN LIONS) is in Music Education with a minor in English/Journalism. He has and M.Div from Jackson Theological Seminary in North Little Rock, AR, MALiberal Studies from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in Music Composition/Theory and Rhetoric and Writing (now called Technical and Professional Writing), M.Ed in Leadership and Supervision from the University of Phoenix and Ed.D in Pastoral Community Counseling Psychology from Argosy University (Dissertation Title: Differentiation of Self and Ministry Job Satisfaction of Itinerant Clergy in the African Methodist Episcopal Church). Dr. Neal has conducted workshops and trainings in Counseling, Education and Leadership, Rhetorical Criticism, Biblical Studies, and Composition and Rhetorical Theory. He is the host of the Zera Today Radio Show, Be Your Differentiated Self Podcast on Spotify, author of several published articles and two books. He is also an adjunct instructor at Bonner Campbell Institute of Religion and Wiley College.
Dr. Neal serves as the Dean of Ministerial Training and Social Action Chair for the South Mississippi Conference of the 8th Episcopal District. He is involved in a number of community and professional organizations including: The American Psychological Association (APA), Clergy for Prison Reform (CPR), Douglass Leadership Institute, Frederick Douglass Foundation of MS, Intentional Insights/Pro-Truth Pledge (Board of Advisors Member), Founding Signer of the Prayers and Action Petition, and A Senior Fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network.