Q and A: He's the new guy at New Heights
There was no easing into things when Josh Hampsher came to New Heights Christian Fellowship. The new pastor came to Farmington at a time when the church was trying to figure out how to deal with a roof in need of repair and the water damage that resulted from that leaky roof.
The church has decided to sell the building and currently meets at Farmington's Rambling River Center while looking for a better solution.
Hampsher has had to figure all of that out while settling in after moving from North Carolina. We talked with Hampsher last week about what the last couple of months have been like.
You've been at New Heights for about two months now, it sounds like.
And you're brand new to the church?
Brand new there. Moved in right at the beginning of July. My first Sunday was, I think, the 18th of July. So, it's been going since then. About the 18th of July.
Where were you coming from?
Most recently North Carolina, but I grew up in Iowa. So, not too far away.
How did you come from North Carolina to Farmington?
We had finished up ministry down in North Carolina and wanted to find somewhere that was a little bit closer to family here in the Midwest. All our family is located in east-central Iowa. I just began to put out feelers and ended up here in Farmington.
When you say you finished up ministry, what were you doing?
I was a pastor down there as well, about an hour west of Asheville, so pretty far west in the state, up in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was a beautiful place. I was a pastor down there and then came up here.
What was it about this position - was it just being close to family or was there something about this that felt right for you?
Obviously we wanted to stay in the Midwest, so Farmington, we're just four or five hours from the place where we're from. But we felt like we fit in really well here. The church and ourselves seemed to be heading in the same direction as far as where we'd like to see things going. So, it was just a great fit between the church, ourselves and the people who are there.
Where would you like to see things going?
We're obviously right now dealing with some building issues and trying to get that taken care of. We go on from there. But just see us continue to work here in the community and find our place in the community being able to serve and plug into the Farmington area.
How long have you been a pastor?
This will be about six years. Six or seven years.
What was it that drew you to that?
I guess most simply, God seemed to draw my wife and I in that direction. We've been married about nine years now. We just felt that was where God wanted us, serving in local churches. That's the short end of the stick on that.
How did you end up in North Carolina?
I was up in Chicago in school and was finishing up there and put out resumes and got a call from a small church down there in rural North Carolina and made a couple trips down there and did some interviewing. It seemed like that was a good fit, so we headed down there.
And like you say, it's got to be a beautiful place to live and work for a while.
It was. It was a great spot. We were in a small town, Bryson City, which is right in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was gorgeous. It's going to be a little bit different getting used to the Minnesota winters again. But growing up in Iowa we at least have an idea what that's going to be like.
Things have been going pretty well for you? People have accepted you pretty well at the church?
Yeah. It's been great. The people there are wonderful. They've welcomed us with open arms. We really seem to work together. We both want to, as far as ministry, head in the same direction. Farmington itself has been great. We love the town here and the people. It's been great. We feel like this is really where we belong and see ourselves here long term.
You mentioned the building issues. You're meeting at the Rambling River Center now. Do you have plans to look for another building? Is that something that's been discussed yet, or are you kind of figuring it out still?
We are pursuing our options as far as where we go from here. We'd like to get into somewhere that would be a little bit more permanent as opposed to the Rambling River Center, where we're packing up our things every Sunday and moving but we haven't quite worked all of that out yet. We're still kind of feeling our way through what's going on and where we're headed.
But you're enjoying yourself?
Oh yeah, it's great getting used to the Minnesota sports teams and things like that and just finding our way around Farmington and the cities. We hadn't spent a whole lot of time up here at all before, so getting the culture of the area and learning our way around has been great.