Who We Are

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18

Sweetwater First Assembly's Vision is to see people saved, delivered, redeemed and fulfilled for ministry service for God and His kingdom.

Sweetwater First Assembly's Purpose is to become a Biblical and unified body of believers with the purpose of worshiping God in Spirit and in truth; and to evangelize the world through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit while being committed to the Great Commission.

Sweetwater First Assembly's Priority is to show that this is the place "where people matter." We demonstrate our love for God through our love for people, helping each person experience an intimate relationship with God.

The Team

  • Pastor Andrew & Rachel Templeton

    Lead Pastor

    I’m the Lead Pastor at Sweetwater Assembly, which basically means that I reap the rewards of the hard work of the dozens of  volunteer leaders and staff who call Sweetwater Assembly home. My “job description” says that I am: The Guardian and Ambassador of the Vision, The Preacher and The Leadership Developer. However, “job description” insinuates work.  But, when you’re doing what you love, it’s unfair to call it work!

    In August of 2000, I married my college sweetheart, Rachel. Since our wedding day, we have been blessed with three amazing kids and dozens of wonderful memories of life and ministry. Rachel and I are both Lee University graduates (2000). I went on to complete a Masters of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry (2009) from Asbury Theological Seminary. I am passionate to see lives transformed through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. His grace really is amazing.

    Some of my interests include traveling, scuba diving, sports and just relaxing with my family.

  • Amanda Palmer

    Hydrate Children's Director

    I was born and raised in Indiana in the Assemblies of God. I attended Marion College where I earned my BSN in nursing.  I worked as a Labor & Delivery nurse for 11 years.

    I have been married to my loving husband Chris Palmer since 1996. We moved to the Sweetwater area in 2012.

    I have been serving the church in a volunteer capacity before joining the staff in 2017. We are so blessed to be a part of the SFA church family and have a passion to see kids learn their calling and gifts in Christ.

  • Jeff Nichols

    worship pastor

    I have been leading worship for over 30 years now... wow, that’s putting some miles on me!!! Haha, but I am more passionate today about praise and worship than ever before!! A Texas native, I graduated from Lee University in 1992 with a bachelors degree and soon after met my wife, Heather. Heather and I have been married for 25 years and have served in full time ministry for those years and have been blessed with 3 amazing kids, Dustin, Breanna and Braden and our daughter-in-love, Brooke. We recently made a move back to Tennessee where we plan to stay. We are blessed to serve at SFA and look forward to what God has in store for us through worship. My wife and I are passionate about His presence and believe we can create an atmosphere of authentic worship through hunger, unity and excellence. When I’m not found playing keys, I may be reading, outdoors on a river, bike riding or spending time with my family.

  • Gina Stenger

    Facility manager

    Gina has been an active staff member since 2005, as well as maintaining her own professional cleaning business. Originally from Michigan, Gina and her family moved to East Tennessee to be closer to family. Gina is married to Gary, and they have a grown son, Tanner. When Gina's not cleaning, she enjoys a good book.

  • carman  lastoria

    youth pastor

    Carman Lastoria serves as the Youth Pastor for Crave Student Ministry at Sweetwater First Assembly of God. His passion is to lead students towards the one our hearts truly crave for, Jesus our Lord!

    Carman previously served on staff as Associate and Youth Pastor of Chattanooga Church from 2008-2012 after graduating from Lee University. After his time there he then took a position as the Sports Information Director at Lee University and currently serves in that role. He and his wife, Shalee have served in ministry on a full-time or volunteer basis since meeting in 2010. The couple has been married since July 2013.

    Carman and Shalee have one beautiful daughter, Bexley Ruth and reside in Cleveland where Shalee is a Special Education Instructional Coordinator for the Bradley County Schools.

    Carman enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, playing golf, flag football and softball and cheering on the Indians, Cavaliers, Browns and Ohio State Buckeyes (He originally grew up in Northeast Ohio).