Kenny Kennedy was born in Clarksville, TN and stayed in his hometown to attend Austin Peay University. He pursued and received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and Leadership Studies in 2011 knowing that he wanted to pursue a career in medicine.
Kenny knew that he didn’t want to jump right into med school, but also knew that he wanted a fun challenge for his gap year. His brother had been discipled by an alumnus of the Downline Institute and he recommended the Emerging Leader program. Taking his brother’s advice, Kenny came during the fall of his senior year to shadow a class and found out immediately that discipleship was something that he had been neglecting in his walk with the Lord. He decided then and there that he was going to apply for the Emerging Leaders program.
Though he was committed to the EL Program, his intention of pursuing a career in medicine did not change. He sought to gain vocational experience during his year in Memphis and particularly wanted to use his medical knowledge and passion in an environment where he could minister to those in need. “By God’s grace my brother’s friend, John Carroll of City Leadership, helped set me up with a job at the Church Health Center (CHC) for the duration of the Emerging Leaders Program. CHC’s main mission is to provide healthcare access to the working uninsured population in Memphis. I was hired as a Church Health Scholars-Clinic Assistant, which basically means I was a pre-med that needed a job for the gap year before medical school. My year as a clinic assistant was divided into three different four-month rotations. The idea is that you work in different roles in a clinic and learn every piece of the puzzle on how a clinic functions. I am so thankful to have a job that I enjoy coming to everyday and working in a non-profit health ministry has taught me so much and radically changed the way I view poverty healthcare.”
The Emerging Leader experience is one that Kenny will never forget. “This year has really revolutionized my faith. I don’t really feel like the same person at all. Honestly, the most impactful aspect of this year for me was being part of a discipleship small group. Unlike some of the other emerging leaders, I didn’t know what discipleship was before I came to Memphis. I had never been mentored/discipled by another man. It means so much to me to finally understand discipleship and to personally experience it. Our group met weekly and the structure was very simple, but also powerfully life-changing.”
Kenny has decided to stay in Memphis for med-school at the University of Tennessee. “My EL year helped me have the foundations of the Christian faith that will help me survive medical school. My experience as an EL has taught me to always be surrounded with older and wiser men in the faith who can disciple me. I know that this year will be incredibly valuable because my EL year was crazy and busy, but I don’t think I can describe how ridiculously stressful next year will be. I’m ready for it thanks to my year of preparation as an Emerging Leader.”