Our mission is to strengthen and support church leaders at every level with biblical and practical training.

The Foundry team initially connected while working at Kuyper College. Because of our connections to local churches, we began to dream of more Spirit-driven, innovative ways to equip churches and church leaders.

Through a season of fasting and prayer, we heard God clearly calling us to start something new that would make biblical and practical ministry training more accessible to church leaders at every level. We love Jesus and the church, and we seek to gather communities of learning within and among churches so that we can all be forged further into the image of Christ.

Why “the Foundry”? A foundry is a metals workshop. It’s hands-on, dirty, and even a bit dangerous. You don’t passively learn in a foundry—you get into the heat. When naming our ministry, we kept returning to the image of God’s refining fire. When you learn with The Foundry, our hope and prayer is that you experience that fire, and that God uses The Foundry to mold you into the church leader he created you to be.

Core Values & Beliefs

Prayer

Prayer

The Foundry started because we fasted and prayed, seeking God’s will. Prayer is woven throughout everything we do because we believe that God is the one building The Foundry, not us.

Truth

Truth

The Foundry is rooted in Scripture, and we want to serve from a place of honesty and authenticity, being clear about who we are (and who we aren’t), recognizing our strengths and limitations.

Generosity

Generosity

God has shown us that he is a generous God who provides abundantly for his people. We want to be good receivers of his good gifts, and graciously use our gifts to serve the body of Christ.

Healthy Rhythms

Healthy Rhythms

We believe our work and ministry should come from a place of rest in our identity in Christ. We are passionate about cultivating leaders with sustainable rhythms of life, and we want to embody that in our own lives and ministry.

Team

Team

The life of the church is meant to be one of co-laboring for the sake of the gospel. Everything we do internally and externally should be a shared ministry for the sake of equipping the body.

Humility

Humility

We are committed to lifelong learning and constant growth through self-awareness and joyful learning from our mistakes and successes.

Prayer

The Foundry started because we fasted and prayed, seeking God’s will. Prayer is woven throughout everything we do because we believe that God is the one building The Foundry, not us.

Truth

The Foundry is rooted in Scripture, and we want to serve from a place of honesty and authenticity, being clear about who we are (and who we aren’t), recognizing our strengths and limitations.

Generosity

God has shown us that he is a generous God who provides abundantly for his people. We want to be good receivers of his good gifts, and graciously use our gifts to serve the body of Christ.

Healthy Rhythms

We believe our work and ministry should come from a place of rest in our identity in Christ. We are passionate about cultivating leaders with sustainable rhythms of life, and we want to embody that in our own lives and ministry.

Team

The life of the church is meant to be one of co-laboring for the sake of the gospel. Everything we do internally and externally should be a shared ministry for the sake of equipping the body.

Humility

We are committed to lifelong learning and constant growth through self-awareness and joyful learning from our mistakes and successes.

Our Team

Branson Parler

Director of Theological Education, Professor of Theology

View Branson’s CV

Dr. Parler pastors, listens, teaches and leads with the humble spirit of a disciple of Jesus. A true master of words, Branson can teach, write, and converse on such a wide range of topics that on first meeting him, one might think he is as intimidating as his 6 foot 5 inch frame suggests. But anyone who knows him also knows that Branson loves people–and he loves Jesus even more.

Branson is a classic deep thinker who not only knows how to challenge the status quo but is also skilled in helping others ask questions of themselves and the world around them. When he teaches, he can often be caught pausing after a student has spoken, this pause being a sign of his deep listening, his openness to learning from anyone and everyone that the Lord puts in his path.

Branson has taught biblical interpretation, philosophy, worldview, church mission, human sexuality and cultural engagement classes at the college and graduate level, and it is through this teaching–through ongoing conversations with his students and colleagues–that Branson began to share a vision for The Foundry as a faithful response to the needs of pastors and churches in the West Michigan area. He is an ordained pastor who serves as Director of Faith Formation at Fourth Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. He is also part of the collaborative leadership team of The Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender.

When he’s not teaching or preaching, Branson helps his wife, Sarah, homeschool six children, while she serves as the first and perfect sounding board for Branson’s many dreams and out-loud wonderings. And even though he’s lived in Michigan his whole adult life, he is still an avid fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jeff Fisher

Director of Spiritual Formation, Professor of Theology

View Jeff’s CV

Known to his students, colleagues, friends, and family as a deep thinker, Jeff will always take the time to pause and listen. Moving back and forth between formal education and pastoring/teaching, Jeff has served and studied in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Arizona, Michigan and Nepal. And although his PhD is in historical theology, he will tell you he is a life-long learner. He is a student of the Bible, history, culture, mathematics and baseball. One of his current projects is editing a commentary on the book of Isaiah.

Jeff made the transition from teaching at a local college to The Foundry because of a deep passion for the church of Jesus. He wants to develop resilient leaders who can dig deep and faithfully serve the Lord through any season of life and ministry. Not a stranger to challenge, Jeff uses his discernment and calming presence to encourage those around him to find strength in the Holy Spirit and the truths of Scripture.

Jeff is married to Wendy with whom he raises tween and teen boys (mostly driving them to church, sports and music events.)

Sarah Behm

Director of Operations, Innovation Catalyst

Sarah loves Jesus and believes the church is the true hope of the world. She gets the greatest sense of achievement by making it possible for other people to live out their calling. Involved in ministry at River Rock Church and within her “church without walls” she enjoys coming alongside people for encouragement and prayer. She and her husband Justin have three boys whom they love to travel with.

Our Statement of Beliefs

Prayer

We believe God eternally exists as one being in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and invites us to be in relationship with him. While God sovereignly created and sustains all that exists, we believe that he is dynamically involved in all we do and desires to hear from us and for us to hear from him.

From its very beginning, The Foundry remains committed to faithful obedience through listening to the Spirit, fasting, and praying. We center our life, ministry, and time around the good news of Jesus, who modeled for us and taught us how to pray.

Truth

We believe that the Triune God has revealed himself in creation, the Bible, and most fully in Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus is the eternal Son, fully God, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, to take on our full humanity, live a righteous life, and give his life as a substitutionary sacrifice for sinners. He physically rose from the dead and ascended to the Father where he reigns and rules over all things. Jesus is the ultimate example and embodiment of grace and truth.

We believe the Bible is God’s inspired word and therefore trustworthy and authoritative for what we believe and how we live. We believe that the Bible teaches that all people are created in the image of God, and therefore men and women of all races and classes are equal and have essential dignity. We believe that from the beginning, God designed celibate singleness and faithful marriage of a man and a woman as the patterns for humans. 

The Foundry seeks to live and serve from these places of truth, rooted in Scripture, authentic in who God has called us to be, honest with others and ourselves in our interactions and limitations. We also find it important to be charitable toward others who disagree with our understandings of these truths.

Generosity

We believe that God is lavishly gracious and generous, and that we are called to reflect his generosity toward others. When our first human parents sinned and brought upon all humanity the consequences of sin, guilt, and death, God in his mercy promised to redeem his people. He carried out his plan to save justly condemned sinners who are unable to save themselves or contribute in any positive way to their salvation. We believe that it is only by grace through faith in Christ Jesus that a person is saved. 

We believe that God also demonstrates his generosity by pouring out gifts upon his people to be used for the strengthening of his church. These gifts include financial resources, but also skills and abilities intended to serve others and meet the needs of God’s people. Because God provides abundantly for his people, The Foundry seeks to be grateful receivers of his gifts, and to graciously use our gifts to serve the body of Christ.

Health

We believe that the same Holy Spirit, who makes the hearts of spiritually dead people alive in order to trust in Jesus, also continues that work by transforming us more and more to be like Christ. The Spirit testifies to our own spirits that our identity is in Christ as God’s adopted children. We believe our work and ministry should come from a place of rest in our identity in Christ and not our own efforts or achievements. 

Following the patterns established at creation and modeled in Jesus’ life, we desire to have sustainable rhythms that nurture emotional and spiritual health. The Foundry is passionate about cultivating leaders with sustainable rhythms of life, and we want to embody that in our own lives and ministry.

Team

We believe that the church is God’s primary instrument for fulfilling his redemptive purposes, and that he designed the church to work together in all its varied and diverse components. The Holy Spirit graciously equips men and women with spiritual gifts so that the body may be strengthened and built up as we carry out the mission of Jesus to make disciples of all nations. We believe that God uses all the gifts portrayed in Scripture and still works miracles, signs, and wonders to reveal the presence of his kingdom and to empower the church for its mission. We affirm both the priesthood of all believers and God’s design to call specifically designated leaders to be given to the church.

The Foundry functions as a team, internally and externally, with this shared ministry approach that ministers from the gifts we have been given. We desire to collaborate with others for the sake of the gospel and to invest in leaders and  learners who bring together their own experiences and the ideas they are engaging. We believe the most effective ways to develop leaders are relational and embodied so that together we can love God and others well.

Humility

We believe that God commands us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This requires that we recognize that he is the source of all knowledge and that we will always be in a posture of learning. We need to know God and know ourselves, recognizing our strengths and limitations, our successes and mistakes. We need to examine and critically reflect on the world around us so that we can engage with its diverse ideas, individuals, groups, and cultures. 

We believe that learning requires more than a transfer of knowledge, but thrives where there is love for one another and attitudes of humility and joy. The Foundry is committed to lifelong learning and an openness to constant growth. We recognize the importance of being adaptive and resilient so that we can effectively support and strengthen church leaders.

The Foundry adheres to the central teachings of the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. While we charitably recognize other Christian interpretations on particular topics, we teach from the perspective of the Reformed confessions: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort.

Our Organizational Partners

Fourth Reformed Church

Grand Rapids, MI

Faith Church

Dyer, IN

River Rock Church

Rockford, MI

Madison Church

Grand Rapids, MI

Wellspring Church

Hudsonville, MI

Rockford Reformed Church

Rockford, MI

Centerpoint Church

Kalamazoo, MI

Indwelling Community Church

Grand Rapids, MI

Richmond Reformed Church

Grand Rapids, MI

Next Steps

Connect for a conversation!

We’d love to hear more about your story and how God might lead us to partner with what is happening in your ministry context.