AdventHealth Shawnee Mission held its annual Spiritual Leadership Retreat in the Tower Club East meeting room at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City last October. The event was attended by 113 healthcare leaders from AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, including managers, directors and executives.

“It’s a time when we encourage our leaders to take a day away from business as usual and devote some time to being inspired and refreshed,” says Mark Stoddart, administrative director of Spiritual Wellness at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.

AdventHealth Shawnee Mission started the Spiritual Leadership Retreat in 2016 to fulfill the hospital’s mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ. “It’s intended to communicate to our leaders that they are valued and loved,” says Stoddart.

The focus for the day was on the CREATION Life principles of Interpersonal Relationships and Outlook. The “I” in CREATION stands for the interpersonal relationships with family, friends and others that are important to your well-being. The “O” stands for outlook, including your view of life and hope for the future. Each of these principles is important to our whole-person health—mind, body and spirit.

The lens of love

During the retreat, the leaders learned about how to support other people in their day-to-day relationships. The day began with local gospel artist Piaget Long who sang inspirational songs like Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and I Still Believe.

Todd Williams, leadership development expert and inspirational speaker, was the keynote presenter. He challenged the group to be intentional about working together in their relationships, personal and professional. He spoke about looking through the “lens of love” the way God sees us and remembering to see each other’s value and worth.

“It was a good reminder about perspective and how it’s up to us to choose what lens we live each day through,” says Ashley McDonald, campus administrator at AdventHealth South Overland Park. “It also encouraged us to think about how much we have to be grateful for in our lives. I feel blessed to work for an organization that provides this opportunity to reset and recharge.”

That afternoon, most of the group took advantage of a guided tour of Arrowhead Stadium. Tiffany Chappell, accompanied by an improv troupe, provided a comedic interlude over lunch.

The group also spent some time helping the community by putting together care packages for Project Uplift, a local charity supporting the homeless in downtown Kansas City. Attendees donated and prepared care packages that included 400 pairs of socks, more than 900 bottles of water, 780 razors and over 4,000 pieces of candy. AdventHealth donated an additional $2,000, which will fund the purchase of 60 zero-degree sleeping bags, which could be lifesaving during the brutal Kansas City winter.

“The service project focused attention on what we can do to help people who are homeless to feel like they’re not alone,” says Stoddart. “We hope that this small act of kindness will help them feel a sense of hopefulness.”

For more information about AdventHealth Shawnee Mission and its community outreach programs, visit

Ann Muder is a freelance writer and editor for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.