Leadership Team

John Maisel - East West Ministries

John Maisel

Founder and Chairman Emeritus

John Maisel has a diverse background in various business and investment activities since being honorably discharged as a captain from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart as a result of his tour in Vietnam.

While in Europe on business in 1979 he began to team up with friends who were traveling behind the Iron Curtain. His travels for ministry in this restricted access area of the world eventually led to the establishment of East-West Ministries International in 1993. Today East-West focuses on church planting in closed countries and restricted access nations. Maisel is married to Susie and has a grown daughter and two grandchildren.

Kurt Nelson - East West Ministries

Kurt Nelson


As Chief Executive Officer of East-West, Kurt Nelson provides leadership and oversight to all worldwide ministry endeavors in the more than 40 countries in which East-West currently operates. After serving with East-West for 13 years, Nelson became President and CEO in June 2010. In 2024, Kristen Shuler assumed the role of President while Kurt remains CEO. Prior to East-West, he served as Vice President of Global Missions Fellowship (GMF, now e3 Partners).

Kurt holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina, a Master of Theology in World Missions from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry in Missions Leadership from Columbia International University.

Leadership - East West Ministries

Kristen Shuler


Kristen has been with East-West since 2010 and has served as the Executive Vice President of Development and the Senior Vice President of Field Leadership. In her current role as President, Kristen focuses on managing the daily operations of East-West through leading the field ministry, support operations, and development teams, while also focusing on external partnerships and fundraising.

Prior to joining East-West, Kristen served alongside the International Mission Board on the mission field across South America, primarily focusing on evangelism and church planting strategies. Kristen continues to fulfill her calling and passion for missions through her role at East-West.

Leadership - Short Term and Long Term Mission Trips - East West Ministries

Chip Zielke

Executive Vice President of Development

As the Executive Vice President of Development, Chip provides oversight and strategic direction to East-West’s development and marketing and communications initiatives, including campaign strategy, institutional giving, planned giving, events, direct response marketing, online strategies, and all marketing/communications collateral.

Before joining East-West, Chip was the President of Oscar & Ma, a nonprofit organization providing event and fund development services and a Workforce Development Academy to assist those with barriers to employment. Chip also has extensive experience in marketing and development in both nonprofit and marketplace sectors.

Anyonymous Person Image

Executive Vice President of Field Ministries

Due to the nature of where East-West serves, this individual’s identity is withheld for security reasons.

The Executive Vice President of Field Ministries directs and coordinates all mission-wide field ministries and oversees the health, resourcing, and development of all field employees. Additionally, the Executive Vice President of Field Ministries works with our field leadership to strategize and implement new ministries as well as evaluate and align all ministry endeavors toward church planting movements.

Leadership - East West Ministries

Seth Kolb

Executive Vice President of Operations

As the Executive Vice President of Operations, Seth provides vision and direction to our support functions, empowering our staff to focus on multiplying followers of Jesus in the spiritually darkest areas of the world. He oversees the Human Resources, Financial Services, Information Technology, Member Care, Recruitment, Security and Crisis Management, and Facilities teams at East-West.

His prior experience includes serving as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State for eight years, serving in Bogota, Colombia; Bern, Switzerland; and Washington, D.C.

Seth holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Tech University. He is happily married and has four children.