As part of Adventist Health System, Shawnee Mission Health recently launched Seventh-day Adventist Kansas City (SDA KC), an initiative to bring together members from all Kansas City area Adventist churches for fellowship and service on a consistent basis.

Two friends who attend different churches initiated the idea at a Mid-America Union Conference Executive Committee meeting. Knowing the Kansas City area consists of approximately 4,600 Adventist church members representing about 19 churches in three conferences, they wondered why churches didn’t work together and started thinking about the possibilities of uniting the groups. The idea was presented to SMH’s administrative director of Spiritual Wellness

Mark Stoddart

, who shared it with some local pastors to get their thoughts.

“I discovered that sometimes different churches would be working independently toward the same goals,” said Stoddart. “It confirmed in my mind how wonderful it might be to work together.”

The goal of SDA KC is to unite church members as one family to make a greater impact within the Kansas City metro. The first step to reaching this goal is to facilitate relationships among members through social interactions.

Throughout the year, SDA KC invites members to participate in family-friendly community events like swim parties, professional sports outings and holiday gatherings. For example, SDA KC recently supported Santa’s Wonderland in Kansas City, Kansas. This special Christmas event allowed pastors, church members and SMH hospital associates to celebrate the season, as well as help distribute toys to children in the area who may not otherwise receive Christmas gifts due to financial hardship. SDA KC is also working on plans for various family-friendly events as well as two concerts in 2017.

One church, one community, one purpose

Feedback from pastors and participants from local Kansas City churches has been very positive. Many pastors like the thought of being part of something larger than their own congregation, and feel that SDA KC will help church members create a stronger bond with the community. Participation in SDA KC also creates an opportunity for pastors and church members from all three conferences—Central States, Iowa-Missouri and Kansas-Nebraska—to plan together for the future.

“We are excited about this opportunity to cultivate relationships across congregations and conferences so that church members become better acquainted with each other, build trust and share resources,” said Stoddart. “We can do more for the Kansas City metro by becoming one church, serving one community for one purpose.”

Friendship first

Those who recently attended SDA KC social events were very thankful to the organizers for the opportunity to mingle with other Adventist members and have plans to participate in more upcoming events.

“Similar efforts have been implemented in other cities, but SDA KC is unique in that it focuses on getting to know others on a personal level and developing friendships first instead of putting the initial emphasis on collaborative evangelism,” said Stoddart. “After we spend time interacting socially, we will introduce opportunities for cooperative efforts to positively impact others in our community and share the gospel.”

For more information about SDA KC, contact Mark Stoddart at

Jackie Woods is a writer for Shawnee Mission Health.