We have a deep passion to minister to people of all ages!
Celebrating God through worship
Communicating the gospel with people who need to know Jesus
Believing that the Bible is God’s revelation to us
Connecting with other believers for spiritual growth
Expecting God to do the miraculous in our lives
Giving generously so that we can meet physical, social, and spiritual needs
Responding to needs in our community and world
- Authority of Scripture. The Bible is divinely inspired and is the final authority in all matters of life (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
- Worship. We are created to worship God. This is our ultimate reason for our existence (John 4:23-24). We week to praise and worship God as individuals, families, and a local church.
- Salvation. We believe redemption is offered freely to all people who place their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who, through His sacrificial and substitutionary death on the cross, paid the price for our sin (John 3:16).
- Baptism. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water (Acts 8:36-39). It is an act of obedience symbolizing faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior; the believer's death to sin; the burial of the old life; and the resurrection to walk in a new life in Christ (Rom. 6:4).
- The Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members memorialize Jesus' death and anticipate His return (Matt. 26:36-30; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
- Prayer. Prayer is a privilege and a responsibility of every believer. God releases His power and leading in the lives of those who spend time in prayer (Matt. 6:7; 1 Thess. 5:17).
- Life Transformation. Christians should daily pursue a growing personal relationship with Christ and are responsible for becoming more like Christ in their beliefs and conduct (Eph. 4:13; Col. 1:28). We provide opportunities for believers to develop a Christian worldview and thus love others as God so loved us.
- Personal Evangelism and Missions. Every person is loved by God, who has entrusted us with communicating the message of salvation (Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Cor. 5:18-20). We seek to share that message with all people -- regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status -- at home and around the world.
- Stewardship. In that God owns everything, Christians should adopt a lifestyle of stewardship, practicing the biblical principle of tithing (giving at least one-tenth of income) to support the Lord's work through the church (1 Cor. 4:2; 1 Peter 4:10). We also believe that Christians are called to give offerings above the tithe as God leads in order to further God's kingdom work on earth.
- Message of Faith. We belong to a collection of like-minded churches working in cooperation to impact the whole world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We come from different places, but we share the same mission. We can do more together. Our beliefs are summarized in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
SweetWater Church is a part of the Primal Faith Network of churches who seek to connect people to Christ and His mission. We live out this mission through the simple rhythms of:
- Saying Yes to Jesus’ call to follow Him everyday.
- Practicing believing prayer.
- Sharing the gospel with everyone, everywhere.
- Gathering people around the Word of God through multiplying groups.
- Simple gatherings that utilize existing community and neighborhood space for worship and equipping.
We are a self-governing autonomous church, sponsored by Bridge Church of Madisonville. In order to minister more effectively for local, state, and global missions, we maintain affiliations with the Northshore Baptist Association, the Louisiana Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Having served as a pastor since 1982, Ken has a burning desire to see people’s lives changed through the gospel. This passion drove him to plant SweetWater Church in Abita Springs in 2021. Ken grew up on a farm just outside Burkburnett, Texas. He married his high school sweetheart, Gayla Wheeler, in 1975. They have four married children and eight grandchildren. Prior to starting SweetWater Church, Ken served as the pastor of four other churches, including more than 23 years at Mandeville’s First Baptist Church. A graduate of Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas, (BSE 1982) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, (MDiv 1985, DMin 1989), Ken also writes Bible study materials for LifeWay Christian Resources. Ken has been the “voice of Bulldogs” at Fontainebleau High School, announcing football, volleyball, basketball, and baseball since 2004.
Jacob joined the SweetWater team in September 2022 as the pastor apprentice. After demonstrating that God had anointed him with the gift of teaching and leading, the church changed his title to co-lead pastor in April 2023. Jacob grew up in Starkville, Mississippi, where his parents, Martin and Angela, took him to Calvary Baptist Church. From a young age they answered his questions about God and the faith, and at eight, he accepted Jesus as his Savior and was saved. From there a number of church leaders, teachers, and pastors poured into him and helped him to mature in his faith. In high school, Jacob became interested in the ministry but did not feel a call to pursue it. After graduating, Jacob went to Mississippi State University and studied political science. There, after the encouragement of friends and pastors, he discerned a call to the ministry. He led small groups and the evangelism team at the Baptist Student Union before becoming the youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Steens, Mississippi. After graduating from MSU, Jacob came to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to continue his studies.
Wade joined our leadership team in September 2023. Wade is from Springdale, Arkansas, where he was raised in a family that loves God and the church. He committed to follow Jesus, was baptized, and was trained in his faith at First Baptist Church of Rogers, Arkansas. In high school, Wade started praying to God, "Show me what You want me to with my life." While attending church camp, God answered that prayer, clearly showing Wade that he needed to prepare to be a pastor. Through working in various leadership positions during summers and college, Wade has obeyed God's call as he has grown in music leading, ministry leading, and preaching. He earned a Christian Studies degree from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and is currently working on a Masters of Divinity in Christian Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Wade likes frisbee, reading, spaghetti, playing guitar and piano, and Marvel movies.