“This is not good-bye. It’s ‘See you later’.” That is what Al Areheart told the congregation of 12th Avenue Baptist Church, Emporia, Kan.

Areheart preached his last sermon as 12th Avenue’s pastor on Sunday, April 15. He and his wife, Connie, are retiring after nearly 24 years there and will be moving back to their home state of South Carolina. They plan to spend more time with their family and pursue new ministries.

Under his leadership, 12th Avenue’s attendance more than doubled. The church purchased more land and constructed a multipurpose building. The local ministry budget quadrupled and the missions budget increased six times.

Areheart led the church in developing a vision for the future which continues to guide it today.

Connie Areheart helped reorganize and brought new energy to 12th Avenue’s women’s ministry.

“It’s time for me to pass the leadership baton,” Areheart told the crowd. “I’m believing your best days are yet to come.”

Jon Sapp of the KNCSB staff will be serving as 12th Avenue’s interim pastor.

KNCSB offers assistance to churches who are seeking a pastor. For more information, contact David Manner, KNCSB associate executive director, at dmanner@kncsb.org