One of our mantras as a community at Redeemer is that we are a place where you can belong before you believe. We really want everyone who comes through our doors to feel like Redeemer can be a safe home for them no matter if you have professed faith for years or are just exploring the idea of Christianity. Keeping this in mind, we’re aware that as our culture at Redeemer has developed, we’ve taken on certain words and phrases as a part of our church’s own “language” that might be foreign to first time visitors or even people who have been around for a while who may have never heard their definition. On the blog today, we'll talk about what a "co-op" church is, which is a term you have have heard Redeemer use to define itself.
If you're familiar with a "co op" you probably think of a school or an apartment building when you think of the term. An apartment co op (or housing cooperative) is a housing situation where each resident has an interest in the building - they live there, but instead of owning just their particular unit, they share ownership in the entire building. Sometimes in co ops, you'll find that one owner cuts the grass, one is the resident handyman, another offers his business savvy to manage the finances. That's a pretty basic overview of the concept - but you get the idea. Everyone is working together to manage a shared asset.
You may have also heard of a co op school. Co op schools are often formed by groups of parents getting together to hire a teacher and then staying involved, helping as a teacher's assistant, maybe providing and preparing meals, or perhaps leading certain lessons or activities.
The theme behind this phrase "co op _______" is an added level of responsibility and ownership. When Redeemer refers to itself as a co op church, what we mean to say is that we are a church "owned" and run by its members. Yes, we do have paid staff, but to keep our staff and operating budget to a minimum, we rely on volunteers to run much of the operations.
By the way, you can see a list of our full and part time staff here. And, if you're interested in volunteering at Redeemer (we promise we're never experiencing a shortage of volunteer opportunities), we'd love to help you get plugged in. Email Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Here are some of our recent posts for volunteer needs: