Our Team


North Valley is a Staff led, and Board protected church composed of qualified Elders, that are non-staff, except the Lead Pastor. The purpose of the board, on behalf of the congregation, is to see to it that the church (1) is protected and the Lead Pastor is protected to ensure the church can achieve her mission to fulfill the great commission and great commandments. (2) Observes biblical standards. The specific job of the board is to ensure the implementation of its primary and occasional responsibilities, which include but are not limited to the following…

  • The Board prays for the congregation, the pastoral staff, and themselves.
  • The Board oversees the church's spiritual condition.
  • The Board oversees and authorizes written church policies.
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Lead Pastor / Founder / Elder Team: Ryan Rice serves the church as the primary preaching pastor. He leads both the staff team and church’s overall vision and direction. Ryan is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and is happily married to Leslie. He also is the proud father of Sam and Riley, Maya.


Assistant Pastor: Craig Nelson works closely with the Lead Pastor. He primarily oversees the administration needs of the church, assimilation, campus operations, and the Sunday morning services at North Valley.

Craig became a lover of God 50 years ago. He is passionate about discipleship and teaching the Bible to send out wholly devoted lovers of God into the workplace and the world. He has authored seven books to help people grow in greater intimacy and communion with their Creator. Craig brings to North Valley over 40 years of experience as a Church Planter, Youth, Associate, Lead and Executive Pastor. He has worked with hundreds of churches as a growth consultant, and as the Director of an international ministry. He started a business 30 years ago in Real Estate Finance, and consulting, which he has used to support his work in ministry. Craig is blessed to be married to his best friend, Claudia, and has three kids and four grand-kids. 




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Joshua Merrick serves as the Worship Leader at North Valley.  He is a graduate of Taylor University (IN).  Joshua spent five years as a High School Teacher and Coach in the Indiana Public School System. He also spent four years as a full-time farmer on his family’s farm in Wabash, Indiana.  He recently earned his Master’s Degree in Strategic Ministry from Johnson University (TN), and also graduated from the Leadership Institute at Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) in Phoenix, Arizona.

Elder Team: Dr. Randy Deal serves the church as a non-staff Elder. He is a Doctor of Pharmacy, a Pharmacist since 1985, as well as a Ph.D. candidate with Trinity Theological Bible College and Seminary, in full-time ministry since 1998. Pastor Randy is married to Dena, with five children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, four grandchildren and loves being a “Papa.”



Deal Family




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Elder Team: Lee Stephenson Lee is the Executive Director of Church Planting for Converge Worldwide, based in Orlando, FL. He and his wife Melissa started Harvest Community Church in Mesa from 2009 to 2015, where he also served on the Vision Arizona LEAD team. He has been in pastoral ministries since 1998. At North Valley, Lee has served as a coach to Pastor Ryan since 2012, and Interim Elder to North Valley since 2015. He helps support, encourage, and think strategically about key decisions of leadership dynamics, vision, and overall direction.

Elder Team: Andrew Branch, Jr. Andy serves the church as a non-staff Elder. He is a Network Architect and has been in the Information Technology industry for 20 years. Andy is happily married to Michelle, with three children ages ranging from 9 to 19.


Andy Branc Family


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NV Kids Team: Crystal McGriff serves on the church staff as the Early Childhood Coordinator for North Valley Kids. She is a certified elementary and special education teacher with an early childhood endorsement. Crystal is happily married to Nick and is a proud mom to Lauren and Carter


NV Kids Team: Theresa Wnenta is the Elementary Coordinator for North Valley Kids. An Arizonan native, she earned a BA in Public Relations/Advertising from NAU before she completed an MBA program in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. She has worked in the private and public education sector for over 15 years in various capacities. She is happily married to Greg with four children.




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