On the 11th of November 2020, the Baptist Union of Norway welcomed a new General Secretary, Bjørn Bjørnø (60). Although Bjørn is new to the Baptist Community, he was elected as a General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Norway after a long process of discernment with 24 candidates.
Bjørn grew up in a Pentecostal church in Norway and became a pastor to Pentecostal churches. He is married and has two grown-up children — one son and one daughter.
When he was nineteen years old, he had the opportunity to preach for the first time. Since an early age, he knew that he was called to do the work of God. Bjørn recalled, "I decided to serve the Lord for the rest of my life since I was a teenager. I felt a strong conviction, and God opened doors." He served as a pastor in a number of Pentecostal churches around the country, including Nesodden, Molde, Tromsø, Kristiansand and Skien. "Among the many places that I have served, Tromsø stands out for me. I was pastoring there for six years and was quite fruitful." He continues, "when I first came, the average age in the church was 57, but by the time I left, it was 32."
As Tromsø is a special place for him, it is also a special place for the Baptist Union of Norway since Tromsø was the Baptist centre for church planting in northern Norway. Last year, the Tromsø Baptist church celebrated 150 years of its life, and coincidentally, one of Bjørn's first duties as a General Secretary was to share the message there.
As Bjørn worked with Pentecostals all of his life previously, he never imagined being a Baptist leader. However, God often works in mysterious ways, and when he was asked to be a candidate for General Secretary, he felt a firm conviction. "For me, it is an honour to be asked to work for the Baptist Union — especially as an outsider. I want to be a blessing to the Baptist community. Power, often, is not a positive term in Norway; however, if God uses power in a constructive way, power is positive. As Christ was an example of this in being a servant leader, I hope to follow him and also be a servant leader."
Bjørn also had an opportunity to work at the Pentecostal Mission (Pinesemisjon) as General Secretary for 11 years after his time in local churches. He holds a Master of Theology from Menighetsfakultet in Oslo, Norway — focusing on Urban Mission.
As you may have noticed, he is passionate about mission — not only within Norway but around the world. Therefore, he shared his disappointment concerning the postponement of the EBF Mission Summit SENT 2021, which was supposed to happen this summer in Stavanger, Norway. However, he is excited to welcome the EBF family to Norway for the postponed Mission Summit in 2023 and get to know EBF leadership and its Baptist communities.
Bjørn continued, "As we still live in this pandemic time, we may feel that we are in deep trouble — if we only see the surface. However, the darkest hours are not a problem for God. We see God working in difficult times, and he does things in different ways. As it is written in the scriptures, ‘God is pouring out his spirit to every human being.’"