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Grace Kids UMC: Changing the world by starting where you are


(South Louisville, Kentucky)

Onscreen: Grace Kids United Methodist Church is a congregation solely for children and youth in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States.

Rev. Corey Nelson, senior pastor, Grace Kids United Methodist Church: “For us, as pastors, our ministry is not inside of these walls. It’s got to be outside.

When I came here, the neighborhood was incredibly dangerous.

Onscreen: The overall crime rate in South Louisville is 154% higher than the national average.

South Louisville is more dangerous than 87% of the cities in Kentucky. Source:

There was a complete disconnect between the church and the neighborhood. The neighborhood didn’t even recognize that this was a church anymore.

And so that first step is to take a step and it’s got to be outside the building.

Onscreen: Step 1: Take a step outside your church building

The second is to give your fears to God. And before you know it, you’re starting to befriend the people that Jesus befriended.

Onscreen: Step 2: Give your fears to God.

As I walked the neighborhood, that’s what I was told over and over is that the kids have nowhere to go.

Five years ago, when I got here, the kids were the ones that were beating down the door if there were cars in the parking lot, once they got to know us. And I wondered five years ago what a children’s church would like, if you completely opened the church to kids. And I would go to friends who were children’s pastors and they would get excited and their eyes would get big. And I would say ‘What does it look like?’ And they would say ‘I don’t know.’ And I couldn’t wrap my head around it either. But as we went along, it became more and more evident that there was some merit to that.

I think this transcends youth ministry, I think this transcends children’s ministry.

I ask people all the time, If you’re going to change the world, why not start where you’re at?

Onscreen: If you want to change the world, start where you are.

And I think we’re creating a new generation of disciples here that truly could change the church and change the world.”


The Grace Kids pastors may be reached via email at or by calling 502-794-5285.

The video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee.

Media contact is Crystal Caviness, 615-742-5138
This video was first posted on May 31, 2018.