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New Lutheran pastor meets his congregation
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Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Where: 600 Enota Drive, Gainesville

Services: 8:45 a.m. Sunday school and 10 a.m. Sunday worship service

Contact: 770-532-2428

The Rev. Ben Haupt just arrived in Gainesville a few weeks ago and he's already making himself right at home with his congregation.

His goal in the first 10 weeks at Good Shepherd Lutheran is to visit every member of the church.

"I'm visiting all my members. That is my goal for the first three months," Haupt said. "I'm visiting approximately about 10 households a week, so 10 a week for 10 weeks, should get me to about 100 households."

Good Shepherd, which has about 250 members, called Haupt to lead the church after a process described as a "call system."

"What happens is a congregation will go through a process, basically an interview process where they will get candidates," he said. "You can't really apply ... I have to be recommended by somebody else, and then I found out I was on their list. They called me and I did an interview over the phone and they flew me up from Boca Raton, Fla."

After a few weeks of what Haupt described as "wrestling with God" through prayer, he and his family made the decision to move to Gainesville from Florida.

For Haupt, 30, this is his first senior pastor position; he was an associate pastor in Boca Raton. He is married to Celina and has a son, Aidan.

"We're loving it. We fell in love with Georgia when we got here," Haupt said. "My wife and I both grew up in rural Indiana with land and lots of trees and big yards to play in. ... Now we have a little room to breathe."