”My passion is really for the local church. I know that everyone says that these days, but I know it to be true. It’s logical, isn’t it? It’s through the local church that God brings his kingdom to the world. So I believe that everything with a global impact starts locally. And that’s where I started as well; by being committed to serving my church, a church that gave me the room to develop my skills - and lead worship at the age of 16.
“I started to write songs in my early teens, and I’ve been writing in English from the start. For a Norwegian this was a strange choice to make. At times I’ve felt like Noah may have felt when God told him to build an arc on dry land; some people have been questioning why I’ve done it, but I’ve always wanted to reach a little further than Norway with my music. And since nobody speaks Norwegian outside the country, writing in English was the most obvious way of helping this happen. Like Noah, I guess I’m now just sitting here waiting for the rains to come.
“I suppose I decided to write like this because when I was growing up I remember that I found it hard to identify with worship music; it often felt a little too removed from my experience of real life. So I wanted to create something fresh and challenging for my own generation. At that point I decided to write music that I enjoy listening to myself. “Worship leaders are not called to artistry. We are called to ministry. To me, leading worship is all about servant hood; it’s not about entertaining people, it’s about encountering God. I hope my songs make it easier for people to access God through worship. If I can do that, then I’ll know that I’m on the right track.
“Before I was leading worship full time I was a journalist and writer. I was face to face with former child soldiers in Northern Uganda, with those living in the poorest areas in Peru and among refugees in Georgia. Those kinds of experiences broaden your perspective of the world, and I know that they’ve been valuable in helping to develop my skills as a song writer.
“A few years back, when this century was just beginning, worship in Norway was completely redefined. Worship leaders and churches all over the country picked up the torch and it was clear that it was the beginning of a new worship movement, uniting Christians from all churches and ages.
“My youth group - Ungfila - was privileged to be a part of this wave. When our first album ‘Today’ was released in 2002, we didn’t imagine anything big was going to happen; we were just a group of young people with a passion to worship God. It was only after our second album was released – ‘Highest of the High’ - that things really started to happen. Our live worship DVD was broadcast on national television several times - as far as I know the first time a worship concert of this kind has ever been shown on national television.”