Our Team

Directors

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.

Regular Teaching Faculty

Rev. Richelle B. White, Ph.D.

Professor of Youth Ministry
Director Ministry Leadership Internships, Kuyper College

Lisa J. Hoogeboom, Ph.D.

Professor of Intercultural and
Biblical Studies,
Kuyper College

John C. Nugent, Ph.D.

Professor of Bible and Theology at
Great Lakes Christian College
Co-Host of the After Class Podcast

Wendy Fisher, M.Div.

Eric VanderWall, M.Min.

Pastor of Family Ministries,
Cascade Fellowship Church

Advisory Board

Cherith Nordling

Sessional Lecturer, Regent College

Joy Bonnema

Madison Church Point Pastor and
Pastor of Madison Church:
North Campus

Bill Flavin

Lead Pastor, River Rock Church
Rockford, MI

Eric Schalk

Pastor, Fourth Reformed Church
Grand Rapids, MI

Richelle White

Professor of Youth Ministry
Director Ministry Leadership Internships, Kuyper College

Eric VanderWall

Pastor of Family Ministries,
Cascade Fellowship Church
Grands Rapids, MI

Social Media Coordinator

Cheyenne Boluyt

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.

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.