This article is part of Evangelical Dark Web’s series called Docent Dumps where pastors and churches who use Docent Research Group are being exposed. This article exposes Ryan Rice of North Valley Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona as a client of Docent Research Group.
The Ed Litton plagiarism scandal has revealed just how vast and industrialized sermons are. A company by the name of Docent Research Group was identified to being a kingpin of (errant) teaching in the church. Predictably such a centralization of church material was ripe for corruption and Docent Research Group has a Social Justice Gospel agenda. This was exposed in the initial Protestia article on the subject. This article continues this coverage by exposing an all too common church in the United States that was using Docent Research Group to get ahead. This information was found researching the employees of Docent Research Group. An employee by the name of Greg Lamb mentioned multiple clients he worked with as a “Solo Researcher” at Docent. There is considerable existing evidence that suggesting that Docent Research Group writes sermons, and Greg Lamb adds to this account.
North Valley Community Church (NVCC) is a nondenominational church located in Phoenix Arizona founded in 2012. It is unclear when and for how long NVCC has been a client of Docent Research Group. NVCC represents an example of an aspiring megachurch trying to use Docent Research Group to get ahead. Ryan Rice is also compromised and, perhaps, skillfully subverting a politically conservative audience with Critical Race Theory, while seeming to condemn Cultural Marxism.
Greg Lamb is an employee or contractor of Docent Research Group, and he is the source for the North Valley Community Church being a Docent client. “I was then promoted to a solo researcher and worked with Lead Pastor Ryan Rice of North Valley Community Church (http://www.northvalleychurch.org)… In all these roles, I essentially serve as an extension to the preaching ministry of these growing churches through providing research, exegesis, and connective tissue to help bring God’s Word to life and resonate with contemporary culture.” NVCC represents a promotion for Greg Lamb. Initially he was working as a team member for Redeemer Fellowship KC, a larger church. But NVCC is a smaller client with lofty ambitions, but as a smaller client, Greg Lamb worked with them on his own to provide exegesis, among other things, for sermons. It is unclear whether Ryan Rice is still a client of Docent.
North Valley Community Church
NVCC is best characterized as an aspiring megachurch in line with a nationwide trend. Being nondenominational and more focused on church growth metrics, it seems that Docent Research group was employed for this mission. NVCC seems most modeled after the larger Redemption Church, Arizona, as evident in their social media and that their faith statements are highly similar, coming in at 86% when ran through a text comparison. Worth noting: Redemption Church’s faith statement includes language on the obscurity of Scripture which NVCC wisely did not copy. Redemption Church is compromised on Critical Race Theory as evident by their statement on the gospel and race. NVCC clearly wants to be like the woke megachurch down the street. This article does not establish a relationship between Redemption Church and Docent Research Group.
Ryan Rice is most definitely a woke pastor worthy of getting his own Woke Preacher Clip for a sermon titled A Biblical Response to Black Lives Matter and Cultural Marxism delivered July 23, 2020 (clips shown in this article’s companion video). The sermon, however, is largely a bait and switch. Ryan Rice wants a politically conservative audience to believe he is denouncing the Black Lives Matter organization because of their support for homosexuality and more obvious antithetical views to Scripture. However, he employs assumptions and practices of Critical Race Theory while denouncing Cultural Marxism. He begins a sermon with a lament session, that exceeds five minutes, which included many of the things we hear woke preachers say. He acknowledges his need to take into account the weightier matters of justice and mercy, saying how he needs help you “understand justice from a biblical perspective, not just Social Justice as a cultural perspective.” This presupposes a compatibility between Social Justice and justice. Rice then acknowledges that he failed to see the contributions of Black theologians, suggesting that without them we have an incomplete understanding of the gospel. He also states that African slaves were taken from “freedom in Africa to slavery in America” as though they were not already enslaved in Africa.
Ryan Rice and North Valley Community Church is legion all across the country, as there are more aspiring megachurch pastors than true megachurches. Modeling his church after the megachurch down the street, NVCC’s ambitions have them cutting corners both ethically and theologically to get there. Because the premise of this church is unsound, the contribution of Docent Research Group is perhaps easy to overstate. They are not a corrupting influence so much as they are a cheat code to rapid growth.