Leadership & Staff
Get to know the leadership and staff at Brandywine. Our team is devoted to helping guide our community in Christ – in knowing Him, and helping them to grow in Him.
Looking to join the Brandywine staff? View available job openings now to get started.
Meet the Leadership Team
Nate Keeler is the Lead Pastor at Brandywine Valley Church. Pastor Nate met his wife, Shannan, while at Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University). They have two children, Nathan and Aidan. Before being called as the Lead Pastor, Pastor Nate was an investment advisor in Washington D.C. for two years and on staff at McLean Bible Church in Virginia for eight years. He received his Master’s in Christian Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary. Nate’s greatest ministry passions are helping people experience changed lives by Christ, preaching the Word, equipping the church to serve one another and to be on mission for Christ. Other interests include the Philadelphia Eagles, the outdoors, Ocean City, NJ and spending time with family and friends.
Todd Johnson is the Executive Pastor at Brandywine Valley Church. Pastor Todd and his wife, Kaely, met while studying at Cairn University. They have two children, Ella and Ethan. Prior to serving as the Executive Pastor, Pastor Todd served as a Pastor in Colorado for a total of 13 years, both as a Lead Pastor and a Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries. He received his Master of Science in Christian Counseling degree from Cairn University. Todd’s greatest ministry passion is helping individuals and families cultivate their discipleship to Christ. His other interests include watching English Premier League Soccer; hiking with his family; learning about ancient people and contexts; and exercising.
Pastor of Students and Adult Christian Education
Matthew McNutt is the Student and Adult Christian Education Pastor. Pastor Matthew, his wife, Heather, and four boys, Micah, Caleb, Noah, and Zachary, came to Brandywine from Maine. He grew up as a missionary kid attending schools in Bolivia, South America and Matlock Bath, England. Pastor Matthew received his Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Youth Ministry and History from Gordon College.
Pastor of Church Mobilization and Groups
Terry Foester is the Pastor of Church Mobilization and Groups. Pastor Terry and his wife, Libby, met in high school and recently celebrated 25 years of marriage. They have four children, Eli, Eden, Silas and Mercy. Prior to Brandywine, Terry served as an Associate Pastor at Sycamore Hill Church for over 10 years. He also has 10 years of experience as a professional Civil Engineer. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering; from Missio Seminary with a Master’s in Missional Theology; and from Northern Seminary with a Master’s in Worship Arts. Terry’s life mission is to help the church spread the Kingdom to new places, new hearts, and to the dark corners of our world…and to travel deeply with people along the way. His other interests include attending live concerts, playing guitar or golf, traveling, hiking, and hanging out with family and friends.
Pastor of Worship Arts
Hayes Parnell is the Worship Arts Pastor at Brandywine Valley Church. Pastor Hayes and his wife Bethany have four children; Hannah, Norah, Hayes V, and Nathaniel. They came to Brandywine from Birmingham, Alabama where Hayes served as Worship Pastor in local churches for 11 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Worship Leadership from the University of Mobile and a Master of Arts in Worship from Northern Seminary. Hayes’ greatest joy in ministry is walking with people along the journey of experiencing all of life as an act of worship. Besides playing and writing music, he enjoys getting outside with his family or diving into a woodworking or car project.
Director, Children’s Ministry
Kristi Pullig, the Director of Children’s Ministry, grew up at Bethany Baptist Church in Newport, Delaware and attended Wilmington Christian School. She and her husband, Mike, have one adult daughter, Katherine. Kristi attended Messiah College earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. In 2015 Kristi earned a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry from Liberty University. Kristi loves working with kids and has classroom experience from preschool to sixth grade. Her greatest ministry passion is to introduce kids to Jesus and help them become resilient disciples. Kristi’s interests include music, reading, walking, photography, and the beach.
Pastors' Recommended Reading
See what books our pastors are recommending this month!
Meet the Staff
Karen Douglas: Executive Assistant/Global Missions
Karen Douglas is the Executive Assistant for the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor, Global Missions and supports Worship Arts. Karen grew up at Brandywine and attended Wilmington Christian School. She left to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Liberty University with Concentrations in Music, Youth and Psychology. She also has a certificate in Christian Ministry at the Master’s level from Liberty. Karen and her husband, Matt, came back to Brandywine in 2000 and she began working on staff in 2004.
Len Armstrong: Manager, Business
Len Armstrong is the Pastoral Assistant for Finance & Facilities. A graduate of Philadelphia College of the Bible (now Cairn University), Len has served as the Pastoral Assistant of Administration, handling administrative and financial aspects for the church as well as overseeing facility management, since 1999. Len and his wife, Heather, have three children — Cassie, Jeremy, and Jesse — and four grandchildren: Tyler, Justin, Aubrey, and Maddie.
Seth Stein: Manager, Facility
Seth Stein is the Facilities Manager. He oversees our 72,000 square foot facility and the facilites staff. Prior to joining Brandywine, Seth spent nine years in property/construction mangement for a major department store and six years in construction prior to that. He has attended Brandywine since 2012. Seth and his wife Melissa have three beautiful children: Haley, Jason, and Melanie.
Melissa Stein: Pastoral Assistant, Students
Melissa Stein, the Pastoral Assistant for Students, grew up at Brandywine Valley Church and is a third generation member. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Religion from Liberty University. Melissa and her husband, Seth, have three beautiful children: Haley, Jason, and Melanie.
Rochelle Anderson: Pastoral Assistant, Children
Rochelle Anderson is the Pastoral Assistant for Children’s Ministry. She and her husband, Steve, have three children, Rebekah, Steven, and Jacob. She has a Bachelor of Science in Bible and Elementary Education and a minor in Urban Specialization MS in Christian Counseling.
Regina Ontjes: Traditional Worship Coordinator
Regina Ontjes, the Traditional Worship Coordinator, came to Brandywine from Atlanta, Georgia. She has a Bachelor’s of Music Education from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and studied voice and music ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. She and her husband, Gene, as well as two sons, daughters-in-love and grandchildren, reside in Pennsylvania.
LC Sayadian: Manager, Connections
LC Sayadian is the Connections Manager at Brandywine Valley Church. She has served the Lord since she was a teenager. LC has a degree in accounting. She and her husband, Sherak, moved to Delaware in 2009 from Connecticut and they have attended Brandywine since 2017.
Cassie Armstrong: Administrative Assistant, Children/ Connections/ Communications
Cassie Armstrong, the Administrative Assistant for Children’s, Connections and Communications, grew up at Brandywine and attended Victory Christian School in Williamstown, NJ. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Delaware. She lives in Wilmington, Delaware.
Laura Van Hees: Administrative Assistant, Groups/ Mobilization/ re|engage
Laura Van Hees is the Administrative Assistant for Groups, re|engage and Mobilization. She has over 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and business development. Laura and her husband, Hans, have five children: a teenager and four young adults. Prior to joining Brandywine, Laura spent more than three years living in Switzerland while her husband was on a work assignment.
Michelle Rush: Administrative Assistant, Students/ Adult Classes
Michelle Rush is the Administrative Assistant for Students and Adult Classes. She, her husband DeWayne and their two daughters have attended Brandywine since 2013. A native of North Carolina, she has lived in Wilmington, Delaware since 2006. Michelle brings experience in grant writing, office administration and church ministry to this position. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina University.
Christy Lapp: Manager, Communications
Christy Lapp is the Communications Manager at Brandywine Valley Church. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Christy is responsible for all the church’s communications and marketing activities. With over 20 years marketing experience in the B2B and B2C worlds, she brings a different perspective to church communications. She and her husband, Tom, volunteered with the church’s Tech Teams for 20 years.
Christian DeLaCuba: Technical Director
Christian DeLaCuba is our Technical Director. He graduated in 2021 from Liberty University with a Bachelor’s of Music in Commercial Music: Recording, Engineering, & Producing with a primary in drums/percussion. While at Liberty University, Christian did studio and live production work with students, ensembles and Nashville artists. He also played drums for two years on a traveling ministry team while at Liberty. His passion is to play and produce for studios, Broadway and Disney/Pixar.
Meri Wheeler: Nursery Coordinator
Meri Wheeler is the Nursery Coordinator. She was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and has been a part of a Baptist church her entire life. Growing up, she served in children’s ministries on Sunday mornings. Before moving to Delaware, she managed salons for a homegrown company in Columbus. Since moving to Delaware, Meri became involved with local animal rescues, is the MOPS Kids Coordinator and is a preschool teacher at Brandywine Valley Christian Preschool. She also loves to bake. Meri and her husband Ryan have two children: Zacary and Caleb.
Shannan Keeler: Childcare Coordinator
Shannan Keeler is our Childcare Coordinator. She has always been passionate about working with children. Shannan earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and was a 1st grade teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia prior to staying at home to raise her children. She currently is a substitute at Wilmington Christian School. Shannan also serves as a volunteer preschool teacher on Sunday mornings in Brandywine Kids as well as being a small group leader for high school girls in our Student Ministry. Shannan and her husband Nate have two children: Nathan and Aidan.
Andrew Wallace: Facilities Team
Andrew Wallace is a member of our Facilities Team and keeps the church building clean and maintained for all of the activities hosted on our premises. Andrew served in the U.S. Marine Corp for 4 years in Logistics. In his free time Andrew enjoys woodworking, working in the yard, playing the guitar and sports – any and all sports. He has two children: Giovanni and Josephine.
Allison Brown: Administrative Assistant
Allison Brown is a part-time Administrative Assistant. She and her husband, Jake, have attended Brandywine since January 2021 when they moved to the area. Allison has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting from The State University of New York in Geneseo. She is also pursuing a career as an author. Allison and Jake serve as small group leaders for Brandywine Students.
Matthew Spanakos: Future Leader Intern
Matthew Spanakos is the Future Leader Intern serving with Brandywine Students. He is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Leadership and Ministry, with a focus on Youth Ministry. Matthew and his wife, Samantha, have three children. Matthew is a native of Wilmington and has served in many church leadership roles over the years.
Deacons and Committees
Spiritual and overall administrative leadership at Brandywine is provided by the Ministry Leadership Team, currently consisting of pastors and directors, in conjunction with a 12-man Board of Deacons. The Board of Deacons serve a three-year term. The current board of deacons are:
- Tim Cura
- Jeff Ernst
- Ryan Hayes
- Kendal Hinmon
- Tim Houseal
- Willie Mah
- Craig Montgomery
- Brandon Ontjes
- Steve Stirparo
- Chris Vincent
- Bill Wilson
- Pete Zuber
Supporting the church leadership are four permanent committees. Members serve a two-year term which begins in January. The committees are: Nominating, Personnel, Finance and Property. Some of the responsibilities of each Committee are listed below.
The Nominating Committee presents candidates for consideration for a Committee or the Board of Deacons.
The Personnel Committee develops personnel policies and procedures; reviews personnel policies and procedures; works with the Administrator to maintain a competitive compensation structure for all Church Staff; and oversees the annual staff performance review process.
The Finance Committee develops financial policies and procedures; reviews the financial management and risk management policies; monitors cash flow; works with the Administrator to prepare the annual budget, recommend unbudgeted expenditures, or transfer of funds above specified authorization limits; oversees the team of volunteers who assist with the weekly counting and depositing of receipts; and ensures an independent audit or accounting review is performed annually.
The Property Committee develops and presents property policies and procedures; reviews property management policies annually; manages all real property and tangible assets of the Church; provides for the regular maintenance and upkeep of the properties and facilities of the Church; and develops long-term plans for facilities needs and make recommendations.
To learn more about these committees or to express interest in serving on one of these committees, please contact Karen Douglas.