We have the privilege of serving as pastors at Viva. We do what we do because we believe Jesus changes lives, in beautiful, powerful and profound ways.
We live locally in Hornsby. We have two great primary aged kids.
As you can see from the photo, we love the incredible outdoor playground that surrounds our suburbs.
God upended our lives in our late teens. We met and married pretty young. God called us to Central Asia where we founded and lead a charity serving the poor of that region. We both speak Russian as a second language. We love the multicultural flavour of Hornsby.
Since returning from Central Asia, Andrew has worked in non-profits and now commercially to see modern slavery ended.
Andrew has an MA in Global Leadership from Fuller Seminary and an undergraduate degree in Political Economy.
Over the last few years Sarah’s worked as a book-keeper and runs a veg co-op.
We are both employed by Viva part-time. We pray Viva is a community where you can discover Jesus afresh.
Jesus said, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10, The Message)
Viva Vineyard Church is people learning, together, to live the way of Jesus.
We love the word Viva. It’s a Spanish word. It means two things. It means “alive” and it means “live!” We come alive when we respond to Jesus’ invitation to live! The way we respond to his invitation is to follow his way.
What do you mean by 'the way of Jesus'?
The way of Jesus is not religious work to earn the blessing of God. Living the way of Jesus is our response to the incredible love and grace that God has poured into our lives. So we live transformed lives from the inside out.
John Mark Comer says, “to be an apprentice of Jesus of Nazareth is to order your life around three goals: be with Jesus, become like Jesus, do what Jesus did. Our dream is that as we live this way, our lives, our communities, and our city, will be transformed.”
We learn to live the way of Jesus together, gathering on Sunday and also in smaller groups during the week. And we seek to put into practice Jesus’ teaching wherever we go. As we do these things we learn to walk with God, we are changed in our heart and character to be more like Jesus, and we grow to do what Jesus in word and deed.
What is a Vineyard church?
Visit Vineyard Australia’s website and you’ll read: Vineyard is a family of churches pursuing God’s Kingdom for our nation. Globally, it’s around 2500 churches in 95 countries.
Vineyard’s core values and theology flows from the teachings of Jesus. We live to see the Kingdom of God breaking into the present day, and orient our values around fostering this.
The Vineyard Church has a set of distinctives which define our character and our place in the broader Church. These show our personality as a family of churches and inform the way we do things.
To dig deeper into Vineyard values, distinctives and to read a full statement of faith, visit www.vineyard.org.au. Or arrange to have a coffee with us :-)
What is Viva's leadership structure?
Viva is governed by a volunteer board of Viva members. They employ the Lead Pastors. The Pastors in turn employ staff. Church life is made possible by everyone pitching in their time, treasure and talents.
Viva Vineyard Church is part of Vineyard Churches Australia.
Do you have a kids program?
Yes! We love kids. Our kids church leaders are dedicated to seeing the kids of church grow up strong knowing God’s love and walking with him.
Our kids range in age from creche age to late primary.
Do you do anything that helps the local community?
Jesus invented servant leadership. So we serve too.
In our local community you’ll find us planting trees, running playgroups, recovering shopping trolleys, cleaning up, building community, fundraising to see the end of slavery, running parenting courses, marriage courses, Alpha courses…
In our church, we gather together on Sundays to meet with God and serve each other.
If you’re keen to volunteer at Viva have a chat with one of the leaders on a Sunday or email us at [email protected]
We’d love your help!
How can I get connected at Viva?
The best way to get to know us is to join us at Sunday gathering either in person or on Zoom. (Check out Sundays page for the latest information.)
Joining a Table Group is great for finding people to walk alongside as we learn to live the way of Jesus. Getting involved in the life of the church through giving of your time, talents and treasure sure helps too!
What if my question isn't answered here?
We’d love to continue the conversation. Contact us electronically. Go to connect. Or email [email protected]
Viva happens because it’s an incredible team of people serving each other and our community. Profiled below are our staff team and our Board.
When some asked UK Christian leader Pete Greig how big his church is he answered, About 2 billion people. Viva is part of the gloriously diverse global community of Jesus followers called, the Church.
As a particular expression of that global community, our heart is for the non-professional churchgoers. People who’ve never been to church. Or who know about as much about Jesus as they do about Plato.
We love Jesus and the life (viva) that we find in him. But we know there is a lot of stuff, particularly religion, that stops people from discovering this life.
So our passion is to break down some of those obstacles that stop people from entering into the life God offers to each of us. We’re not the biggest, best or most cutting edge church.
We just want people from every background to hear God’s invitation to enter into his life.
Come along and tell us how we're doing. We'd love your feedback.
Why aren't you on Facebook?
We have ummed and ahhhed over this one. You won't find us on social media. We recognise that this is inconvenient for people. At Viva we deeply value community. God as trinity is community. Viva is not a virtual community. It is real community. To be part of Viva is to show up, be present, rub shoulders in person and build healthy relationships with God and with each.
The Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma has reminded many of us of the unintended destruction that is being wrought by our addiction to social media as a society.
We can see the value of social media but right now this is the stand we've taken. Watch this space. And please contact us if you've got questions or if you'd like to push back. Like you, we're just trying to work out how to live well in this moment.
How are you funded?
People giving generously and cheerfully enables the Viva community to function. You won’t hear us talking about giving financially every week at our Sunday gatherings. That’s not because we don't think money or what we do with it is important. But we do want people who are exploring Jesus to have the opportunity to do that without feeling pressured to give money.
What do you think about women in leadership?
Andrew and Sarah Starr co-lead Viva. We deeply value and esteem women. Their leadership is welcome and sought across the life of our church. We're really happy to have the deeper conversation of how we arrived at this position biblically but we're not going to do that conversation justice in an FAQ post.
What's the big dream?
When we consider joining anything we're asking, Are these my people? Being part of a group often involves carrying a shared dream: it could be winning the premiership, getting certain legislation changed, changing how we use plastics, pay equality... These dreams are shared and they reflect the future we want to see.
At Viva we carry a big dream that resides firmly in God's mission on earth. God through the work of Jesus and the presence of the Spirit is restoring his broken creation to himself. Our big dream is that we would reflect a little of that restoration right where we are. There's a final scene at the end the Bible. It tells us that in the end people from every tribe and nation will be together living in awe of God together, flourishing and joyful.
At Viva we want to be a preview, kind of like a mini movie trailer for that glorious ending. We have a deep passion for the lives of people across this beautiful diverse community of Hornsby to be restored to Jesus. And that these lives would flourish and our community would be restored and made whole as a result. That's our big dream.
But it's still just a fragment of all that God is doing to restore his whole world to himself.
What's your big dream?