Dave Kennedy has joined AdventHealth Shawnee Mission as administrative director of Mission and Ministry. The founder of Newday Adventist Church in Parker, Colorado, Kennedy brings 24 years of experience in pastoral ministry and leadership.

Kennedy says his move was the result of a prayerful process. “I had always felt called to the local church because of the impact it makes on the world and God’s kingdom,” he says. “When I met the team at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, I was so blown away with their mission focus, collaboration and team spirit. After prayer and counsel, I realized this was the next expression of ministry God was calling me to.”

While at Newday Church, Kennedy led the church in a partnership with the local Adventist hospital to serve the community, including an annual Christmas store to provide for families in need.

At AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, Kennedy is once again building those relationships between the hospital and area churches. During his first week, he met with local church leaders, and he says he was amazed when they asked how they could help serve the hospital during the pandemic.

“I thought it was wonderful that they asked how they could help when I felt like I should be asking them the same question,” says Kennedy.

During those meetings, they talked about ideas to show support for healthcare workers. As they discussed some of the things happening around the country, they talked about a car “drive-in” so people could pray, flash their lights and honk their horns to show their support for the AdventHealth team members.

“They liked that idea immediately and responded with such generosity,” says Kennedy.

For the first “Heroes Drive-In” event, local church members filled the parking lot with 300 cars the first Saturday in April. It was held during a shift change, from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m., so hospital team members could see them as they came into work or as they left. As the cars honked their horns and flashed their lights, people also held up handmade signs, including “Heroes in scrubs” and “Thank you for your courage.”

“Our team members were so overwhelmed and grateful,” he says. “I visited the floors while it was happening, and on every floor, people were crying, laughing, taking pictures, waving and pointing out people they knew.”

The event was such a success that it was scheduled for several more dates in April as well as at AdventHealth’s satellite locations.

Kennedy says it was emotional to see how the event made a difference for the team members and helped boost their resilience in a tough time. “They’re still talking about how amazing it was that the community would come out and pray for them,” he says. “It’s still carrying them.”

Through all the challenges of the time, Kennedy says he’s been struck by the commitment and dedication of the team members in the hospital’s mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ.

“I’m on an amazing team that is doing amazing things,” says Kennedy. “Our mission is being lived out in the hospital and in the community in so many tangible ways. Our team is serious about extending the healing ministry of Christ! I’m thrilled I have the opportunity to participate in the great work they’re already doing and discover other opportunities to serve in Kansas City and around the world.”

For more information, visit AdventHealthKC.com.

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