Marshall Pennell

Marshall Pennell Marshall, with his wife Kim, enjoyinga four-wheeler ride through the woods of Missouri.

From the time Marshall was in elementary school, God began to form in him the importance of ministry and of the great commission. When his father left a highly successful church to become a missionary in the jungle of Ecuador he modeled for Marshall the concept that ministry is more important than position, and that true success is only found in serving the Lord and the expansion of His kingdom.

At seventeen, Marshall finished high school early and started his own business. He met Kim at Bethel College and they were married in 1981. Over the next eight years, while they began raising their three daughters, he continued to build his business. After graduating with honors with a degree in business he sensed God’s call into the ministry and took a position as a youth minister.

Through his work in youth ministry, Marshall came into contact with the work of Child Evangelism Fellowship. In 1989, he accepted the position of Executive Director of CEF of Florida’s Heartland. Over the next five years he enjoyed the challenges of building CEF local ministry through promotion, fundraising, ministry strategy, and execution. At the invitation of CEF President Reese Kauffman, Marshall then accepted a position at the ministry’s world headquarters near St. Louis, Missouri.

Marshall Pennell Marshall pack horse camping for a week in Wyomingwith friend Colter Brown, a missionary to Honduras.

As he was given more and more responsibility in leading the organization, Marshall put specific focus on strategic areas of need. He oversaw the development of a first class video and radio studio and worked to develop a standard of high quality promotion and training productions. When CEF’s literature production branch, CEF Press, was failing he personally took the reins and led a team to reengineer the entire operation from planning and quality control through inventory control and marketing.

Marshall was appointed Executive Vice President for CEF worldwide, and had direct oversight of the organization’s four Vice Presidents, along with hands on responsibility for all operations including ministry strategy and execution. Through extensive international and domestic travel, he met and spoke with leaders both of CEF and partnering ministries. God opened doors for Marshall to frequently serve as a Bible teacher, public speaker, and representative of CEF to the media.

As CEF approached their 70th anniversary Marshall worked on planning and implementing international ministry growth strategies. As God blessed the work CEF saw growth of 55% over a three year period. CEF became the world’s largest Bible ministry to children, working in 159 countries and reaching almost 9 million children per year in face-to-face ministry. To support this growth he assembled a team to evaluate and reengineer all of the core business practices foundational to the work of CEF.

During his twenty years as a leader in CEF Marshall put a strong focus on funds development. As Executive Vice President, he oversaw the formation of a development department that quickly grew from one staff member to ten. By implementing a wide variety of strategies and programs, the overall budget of CEF grew from fifteen to twenty-two million dollars over a five year period. By focusing on creativity and quality, supported by foundational systems and practices, the funds development program was established and continues to support the growing work of CEF around the world.

In the spring of 2009, Marshall resigned from his position at CEF to have a broader ministry focus. He and Kim continue in their passion for ministry and the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Marshall’s greatest desire is for God to use his life and experience in the ongoing work of the Kingdom.

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