SSC Announces Transitions in Vitality Team

CHICAGO (November 21, 2019) – Shaun Marshall, director of congregational vitality with the Start and Strengthen Churches (SSC) ministry priority, has been called to join the senior leadership team of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago, a historic and influential congregation here.

Shaun Marshall, director of congregational vitality, leaves the ECC at the end of February 2020.

Shelley Kurth, director of congregational vitality for the Great Lakes Conference, will serve as interim director of congregational vitality for the ECC.

Marshall has been leading the Evangelical Covenant Church’s effort in congregational vitality since January 2018. He will continue in the position through February 2020.

Prior to this role, Marshall served as senior pastor of Community Covenant Church in Calumet Park, Ill., and as executive pastor at Citadel of Faith Covenant Church in Detroit

“I am grateful to the Lord for orchestrating the circumstances that positioned me to serve the ECC in this capacity,” Marshall said. “I have served with an incredible team of Mission Friends who love Jesus and make hard work fun. This has been one of the most transforming professional experiences of my life.”

“Shaun has made a lasting impact on the Covenant”, said Paul Lessard, SSC’s executive minister, noting Marshall has led a transition to Vitality 2.0, which will be rolled out at Midwinter 2020.

“We are saddened by the news of Shaun’s departure,” Lessard said, “but we recognize the honor and unique opportunity being afforded him to serve this great church.”

In his new role at Salem, Marshall will serve as a member of the pastoral and preaching team and will oversee all ministries of the church. The move is a kind of homecoming for him, as he became a Christ follower through the ministries of Salem more than 20 years ago, which is led by founder and senior pastor, James T. Meeks.

Shelley Kurth will start in March 2020 as the interim director of congregational vitality.

The church has a long relationship with the Covenant. More African American church planters have come from Salem than any other historically black congregation.

Kurth, who already has influenced churches across the Covenant as the facilitator of PULSE, an assessment tool in the Vitality Pathway meant to encourage churches to become healthy and missional, begins her duties as the ECC’s interim director of congregational vitality March 1.

In her former role at the ECC, Kurth led the process of translating PULSE, into Spanish. Kurth has also served in multiple capacities at Forest Park Covenant Church in Muskegon, Mich., including executive pastor, pastor of ministries and outreach and children’s pastor.

“I am eager to assist the SSC team in continuing to serve those churches looking to become more healthy, missional, fruitful and multiplying,” Kurth said. “This is the foundation of being a strong church—one that is following where the Holy Spirit is leading.”

News Contact: Stan Friedman,

News and Online Editor

Contact the Evangelical Covenant Church

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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1 Comment

  1. We will miss you Rev. Shaun! Thanks for your great work and your willingness to pray at all times for whatever needs arise! You will be a great blessing in your new role. We are also excited that Rev. Shelley will be in this position and we know she brings a heart full of love for Christ and Christ’s church and lots of experience. We are blessed by wonderful leaders in the Covenant.

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