Prism - A Place for All People
Celebrations | Sundays at 11:00 am
Owings Life Enrichment Center
2323 West Street, Germantown, TN
It’s a fun celebration. It’s upbeat music with our band. It’s energy and passion.
And we invite everyone to be a part of it.
Come as you are
Feel free to dress however you’re comfortable. (Pastor Steve Stone wears jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers.) Bring the kids, bring your family, or come by yourself. We’re casual and relaxed!
Explore the ways of Jesus
Each celebration includes a message based on the life and teaching of Jesus. Just like a prism refracts light and reveals a rainbow of colors, we strive to soak in the light of Jesus and let it shine through us.
We can have a great time and still speak Jesus’s truth. We hope you feel the presence of God at our celebrations and leave feeling encouraged, inspired, and connected.
No experience needed
Prism is a place for all people, no matter the background. We’ve scrapped the insider customs and unfamiliar terminology. We’re focused on living what Jesus teaches.
We’d love to hear from you! Give Steve a call or text him at 901-337-1346.
God planned each of us to be one in a zillion.
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5 New Living Translation
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. They are
plans for good and not for disaster, plans to give you a future
and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation
There has been no one ever on this earth like you; no one ever will be. God did not think the universe would be complete without you. You are here to be the hero of your own life, to live the life God sent you here to live specifically; to spend your life with God — now and forever. You are no accident. God sent you here on purpose, for a purpose.
God is love and only wants love for us and from us.
“Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love”
1 John 4:7-8 New Living Translation
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 New Living Translation
“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 New Living Translation
“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14 New Living Translation
This is comfort and joy about who this God is who spoke us into being. It answers the big question about what God wants and what you are here for. We are here to give and receive love. This gives us focus on what is most important about us and about life: love. Really getting this one thing would sure help us let go of the past (as Jesus wants us to do) and let go of a whole lot of other things we try to hang on to that do not bring us love, peace, hope, and joy.
Jesus meets us where we are, and leads us to where we need to grow.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 New Living Translation
“The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.”
Galatians 5:22-23 New Living Translation
Jesus is God come to the earth in flesh and blood-up close and personal-God we can get to know. He will live in us and with us and even through us and guides us on our hero’s journey in living out our one in a zillion life. He is our life coach, our mentor and our closest friend. He wants from us only a willingness to begin the relationship with him on the promise that we can grow and develop-shedding what holds us down and embracing what will make us free and able to reach out to others with love.
Living what Jesus teaches makes life work.
“For we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 New Living Translation
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation
Jesus came so that we could have life and have it to the fullest. He doesn’t just care about if we get to live with him in heaven, but he wants us to have a great life now. He offers us eternal life, which for him was not simply a quantity of life. It is a quality of life that begins now and continues forever. This quality of life which he also called abundant is not perfect life, but as Eugene Petersen has described it in his paraphrase The Message, “more and better life that they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10. He wants us to have a life that works where we no matter what we may suffer we still can receive love, joy, peace and hope. If we live as Jesus teaches our lives will work. Jesus doesn’t want us to just survive. He wants us to truly live!
I can do all things through Jesus who strengthens me.
“For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 New Living Translation
“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptations to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 New Living Translation
ALL THINGS. I can go through anything. Not just survive anything; I can live through it. I can do anything-with Jesus. There is nothing that will happen to me today that Jesus and I cannot handle together. Having that at the foundation of your being will help you in the wilderness times of your life. It will help you in the dark times of your life. It will help you with the temptation to be anything other than the hero of your own life. Jesus is on your side. If you let him, he will strengthen you, encourage you, and guide you even in the face of your hardest temptations. Living in him is one way in which we, as a tribe, are each stronger together.
The Way of a Jesus Follower
- Makes their relationship of love and trust with Jesus foremost.
- Expresses their calling at the intersection of how they are wired and what Jesus is up to in the world.
- Regularly arranges meetings with Jesus in the gospels.
- Navigates life by what would Jesus do if he were me and then does it.
- Practices love with everyone in all situations at all costs.
- Is ever ready to share their experience with, strength from, and hope in Jesus as led to do so.
- Understands that following Jesus is not a solo affair.
- Shows gratitude to Jesus by investing time, energy, creativity and resources (money & stuff) in Kingdom building.
Reflecting with Jesus about Reflecting Jesus
- Ask the Lord for a meeting
- Find a place and read
- Listen for what the Lord is saying
- Connect with Him about it
- Decide what to do as a result of what you’ve heard
- Carry it into your living
“I am called to live in perfect relationship to God so that my life produces a longing after God in others’ lives and not admiration for myself.” — Oswald Chambers
Once upon no time, before time was ever counted, there was God. This isn’t just any god but the one true God. God was and is all-powerful, all knowing and all-present- everywhere at every moment. God is, was and will always be. If you contemplate the awesome nature of this God too long, it might make your brain hurt. The awesome thing about God is that God is 100% pure love. In its purest form, this love is the most powerful force in the universe.
We have learned that love isn’t love unless it is expressed. Love requires a sender and a receiver. God’s love has to be expressed and the way God first expressed love was in Creation. Some scientists now believe the whole universe began as a piece of matter smaller than a pea, expanded from there, and is still expanding. The Bible says that it started with three words: “Let there be…” God’s vast love was expressed in the creation of the universe — heaven, sun, moon and even this green and brown marble we call earth.
Of all the plants and animals, humankind was made in the image of God, and God’s desire was that people spend their lives in love and trust with God, who would be a tender-loving, doting parent to each and every one. That’s it.
One of the clearest marks of God on humankind was free will. Free will is the power to make decisions or choices on our own. The truth is that love has to be a choice. God only ever wanted love from us and for us, and love cannot be forced. Love has to be given. Love has to be sent back to the sender creating the bond of a relationship.
As the story goes, the first people used their free will to make a terrible decision. They decided to believe in God but not to enter into a relationship of love and trust with God. “Is that OK with you God?” God said, “It’s tragic. It breaks My heart, and it will break yours. Apart from Me you will lose your way and dead end. However, you are free.” The upshot of their decision was that human beings totally lost their way as a people went insane.
The human heart, mind and soul is made to function properly only in a relationship of love and trust with God. This relationship is what makes for a whole person — sanity. To forego that is to choose to live in a way we were not created to live, having only a piece of what life is meant to be. This life isn’t whole, which is also to mean that it’s insane. The whole world became saturated with insanity. It broke God’s heart and theirs. They completely lost their way.
Get this! God’s love is relentless. God never gave up on humankind. From the first instant when the first person chose to turn away from their relationship with God, God continued to love them and tried to win their love in return.
Things got bad. People got so far away from God’s plan of paradise for them that God decided the best thing to do was go in a completely different direction. The slate was wiped clean. It was a do-over of sorts for the human race. God decided to use a specific group of people in this restart. It’s a divine mystery why these people were chosen. However, the purpose was for this group to use their free will to build relationships with God. Their mission would be to teach their children and the whole world to do that so that all people would find their way.
This group, they lost their way, too. They didn’t choose love but a lever. Their free will was used to build a fine and mighty religion they believed would move heaven and earth. God had given them ten wonderful boundaries for living the good life. But, they turned them into rules and regulations to try to control both people and God.
God’s ten great ideas were morphed in to 612 laws over the centuries. It turned out to be such a fine religion that there was no need for a relationship with God at all. After all, could this God really be trusted? The thinking was that if you simply followed the rules, you would be just fine.
Never for a moment did God give up.
The next part of the story is by far the most exciting so far. God came to earth not as some invisible force or in a spaceship, but as a baby in a manger. God grew up here, walked the earth, and spoke and taught the way to real life. Jesus was the name God answered to. For three years, He went about teaching a band of followers, and anyone who would listen, who God was, what God was up to, and how to get on board with that. He dusted off and freshened up what had been said from the beginning that all God wants for and from every one of us is love. He said it this way, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” He taught them to call God Abba, which means “Daddy.” Jesus challenged His followers to each have his/her own one in a zillion relationship of love and trust with God.
At the end of those three years, He gave His life to prove that He was who He said He was — God in flesh and blood. He gave His life to prove that what He taught and the life he called people to follow Him into could be trusted.
He died to show that love is the most powerful force in the universe. After being dead for about 39 hours, He came back to life as the exclamation point to all He had done and taught as the proof that love is indeed the most powerful force in the universe.
For about fifty days, He appears to those who had been following Him to reinforce that God’s work on earth was not finished, and it would continue through them. They had a responsibility bestowed on them to share this life with everyone and invite each person whose paths they crossed into this life. It became the call of each follower to reach out to those who were lost and trying to make it in life without God, until everybody found their way home to Him.
Jesus taught His followers to share that if they fully stay in that relationship, life will come to them richer and fuller than they could ever have imaged it. That life, which is their life by God, will never end, so each one who pursues Jesus will also never end. The choice about that is each person’s own choice.
From the day Jesus left this earth, the Holy Spirit (the same will and personality Jesus showed) came and stayed with us, those who follow Jesus into life. We found their way, and we will continue until He comes again. The story does not go on just as it is now. The promise of Jesus is that in the fullness of time (whatever that means), He will return to this earth again. This time, it will not be in a manger, but large and in charge. The Kingdom of God, where nothing exists but love, joy and peace, where there is not one who doesn’t have a relationship of love and trust with God, will be the light that shines in every heart.
And, they all will, by God, live happily ever after.
A lifelong Memphian, I met the love of my life Mary in 10th grade (my high school and still to this day sweetheart). We raised four amazing children (Jenna, Steve Jr., James & Audrey) who married amazing people (Mark, Amy, Amanda & Ben) who gave us ten even more amazing grandchildren (Saragrace, Isabelle, Alden, Jackson, Caroline, Maddox, Vivian, Kimberly, Ella Marie & by way of South Korea, our exchange student become family, Erica). Add to that rescue dog, Elsa & rescue cat, Tiger.
I went through a dark night of the soul during the early 70s (yes, shocking to think I am of that vintage!) After a few years of…well, it was the early 70s and I was in university…I dead ended. I was at the end of my own pursuit for joy when I decided to give Jesus another look. I never had taken a good look at the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) for myself. I had only had them interpreted to me by preachers who really wanted to be sure I behaved and said the magic prayer and made it to heaven, none of which much captured my heart or imagination.
In reading the gospels for myself, I noticed that my heart and mind seemed to expand. I began to get to know Jesus − not only his ways and means, but him personally. When I heard him saying as he hung on the cross, “Father forgive them (which I knew included me) they don’t know what they are doing,” I understood that if Jesus (being God) said that it was a done deal. Not being able to think up a better God than that I committed all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and all my strength to Jesus-to spending my life following him.
And as I have, lo these 48+ years, my life continues to expand, the result of that being a desire to help any who don’t come to know, love and develop their own one in a zillion relationship of love and trust with him. That is why I do all that I do. That is why I answered the call of Jesus to work with whosoever will on an alternative worship experience called Prism- A Place for All People, whose purpose it is to help people have a relationship of love and trust with Jesus and with those who do.
Come as you are, explore the ways of Jesus, leave refreshed, no experience necessary.
Natalie Duncan is always making a joyful noise. As Associate Director of Music at Germantown United Methodist Church, she oversees all aspects of the band – and also leads the church’s Testimony youth choir and Elementary Chime Choir, Wesley Ringers.
Natalie says God placed a call on her heart for music ministry at a young age. She knew she enjoyed singing, but she was given the opportunity to help teach the junior high ensemble as a senior in high school.
Natalie said, “I can’t even say it was a nudge; it was a push into teaching music, and it is a journey that continues to surprise and inspire me in the most unexpected ways!”
Her musical inspirations include Alison Krauss, Kathy Mattea, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Eva Cassidy, and any groups with exceptional harmony (Little Big Town, Indigo Girls, Monday Night Card.)
When she’s not making music, Natalie enjoys cooking (especially using her grill and smoker), baking, and spending time with the main men in her life – her husband Jim and their two sons, ages 9 and 10.
Ted Horrell is a school superintendent by day, musician and family man by night.
Ted graduated from Germantown High in 1992, earning the class’s “Most Likely to Succeed” distinction. It must have been an accurate prediction, because he was recently named the 2022 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year!
Ted has influenced countless students as a teacher, high school principal, and now leader of the Lakeland School System – but making music and collaborating with musical friends has also been an important part of his life.
His first band formed in high school to play at a local “battle of the bands” competition. He also formed a well-known Memphis-based group called The Central Standards from 2000 to 2007. His most recent band, The Monday Night Card, performs at venues throughout the MidSouth and is releasing a new album later this month.
When he’s not focused on education or playing music, Ted enjoys reading, cheering on the Grizzlies, writing songs, and spending time with his wife and their two sons, ages 8 and 10.
The first thing you should know about Dallas is that he is not named after the Cowboys or the TV show (it’s a common question.) Dallas is a family name.
The second thing you should know is he has been a world traveler since age five. His father worked for an oil company, which took his family from Texas to the Middle East. Dallas joined the Navy after college and became a helicopter pilot. Throughout his military career, he traveled even more. He and his own family (wife Tracy and two sons) have lived on all three coasts and points in between, plus the overseas deployments he did while on active duty. Dallas has lived in the Memphis area for 10 years now, and this is the place he calls home. One son is a freshman at the University of Memphis, and another is a sophomore at Collierville High. Dallas works as a sales executive for a global logistics company.
Lastly, Dallas got into music at an early age. He remembers his mom used to play Elvis records in the morning and they’d rock out. He leaned more towards classic rock at first but has since grown to appreciate many genres: country, bluegrass, and even some electronic.
“The thing I like about playing music is the togetherness the band feels while in the middle of a song,” he said. “It is an unbelievable feeling when we get together, in sync, in rhythm, with one purpose. Those moments of synergy and us and our instruments coming together is magical.”
Casey Smith says he feels very blessed to be able to do the two things he loves most: painting works of art and playing music.
For the past eight years, he has served as the Visual Art teacher at Presbyterian Day School, where he teaches kindergarten through 6th grade. All in all, he has taught art for 20 years. He also enjoys time in his studio painting – whether it’s for a client or for himself.
When it comes to his other love of playing music, Casey says he especially enjoys rehearsals and the process of creating original bass lines.
“My musical philosophy is that feeling comes first. Music theory is maybe a close second,” he said.
The band affectionately calls Casey the “Case of Base.” He says he wholeheartedly believes the saying “for every great band you will know the name of the bass player.”
Among his favorite musicians are the bass players who have become irreplaceable parts of great bands, such as John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Chris Squire (Yes), and Chris Kirkwood (Meat Puppets). When it comes to inspiration, he says Paul McCartney is #1.
Casey also enjoys spending time with the leading ladies in his life. He has been married to his wife Melissa for 25 years, and together they have two daughters. Dorothy is a senior at Houston High and Lucy is a freshman.
Amy Gunnell has an unmistakable set of pipes. She learned to sing harmonies at a young age and has been producing dynamic vocals ever since. In fact, Amy had her first paying gig when she was just nine years old! She also worked as an entertainer at Opryland USA during college (she studied accounting at the University of Memphis), and she won the MidSouth Fair Youth Talent Competition twice.
“I love losing myself in the music,” Amy said. “Growing up, I actually used to sit in my room and find as many harmony parts as I could to songs from the radio.”
Amy says she finds inspiration in musicians such as Lauren Daigle, Adele, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Aretha Franklin, and Etta James.
When she’s not singing, Amy puts her middle school math skills to work. She currently teaches 7th grade at Lakeland Preparatory School, and she also coaches her school’s cross country team in the fall.
Amy lives in Germantown with her husband of 20 years, Patrick, and their two daughters, Abby (17) and Kate (14). Fun fact: Amy and Patrick went to middle and high school together, but they barely knew each other. It took a blind date toward the end of college for Cupid’s arrow to hit!