The People in Our Neighborhood

“We wanted to meet people first,” says Scott Klaudt, who pastors Downtown Alliance Church in Missoula, Montana. Through a coffeehouse/community center near the University of Montana, the state’s largest university, Klaudt and his team are accomplishing just that. 

downtownWith an entrepreneurial approach to ministry, Scott has sidestepped the traditional Alliance church plant model to reach the Missoula community with this innovative outreach. “We started the business first to gain momentum,” he says. “Once we built relationships, we began host Bible studies instead of having a set program.”

The Alliance establishment provides lunch, catering mostly to professionals in search of quality noontime respite. The venue also hosts open-mike night, a favorite past time among University of Montana students. Also, jazz concerts highlighting local musicians, and benefit fund-raisers for neighbors are popular events at the Alliance outreach. “It makes The Alliance look good because we show them love.”

“Most church plants take about 30 people and move them,” says Scott. “We didn’t want to just shift a bunch of Christians around, which may work for some but it’s not what I wanted to do.” Without a tithe base, God has met the needs of the unorthodox church plant. “Our [Rocky Mountain] District has backed us, too.”

Worship services quickly moved from once-a-month to weekly meetings when an increasing number of people began attending. “Attendance now fluctuates between 50 and 80,” Scott says, “including some of the professionals who visit during the day and university students who pack the house at night.” 

When Donnie Spotted Elk entered the center he said, “I hear you guys pray for people here. I need job by Tuesday or I will go back to jail.” Donnie recently had been released from prison, where he placed his trust in Christ. When Scott prayed, the Native American ex-convict obtained employment. Now he hosts a Sunday night Bible study for local Native Americans, many of whom are homeless.

The mission of this Alliance outreach is “not necessarily to ‘do church’ but to help the community,” says Scott. “It’s a full-time business. If the business goes down after we’ve spent $250,000 and only one person came to Christ-it was worth it.”


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