High Desert “church” proving once again that nothing is sacred in American Christianity.

I found the following video over at Slice of Laodicea. For those who remember High Desert from my previous post Christianity: It’s All About the Music?, you’ll see that it’s still “church” as usual.

I cannot add any more to the commentary than what Ingrid Schlueter already added on her post:

The prophetically named High Desert Church has a Student Ministries pastor named Tim Kuhl who decided at some point in his career to serve as an archetype of everything that is wrong with evangelicalism. This YouTube video serves as a useful one stop place to explain why I could not be paid to attend one of these freak show churches at any price. Tim Kuhl is featured on YouTube at his church, “singing”/lip syncing the well-known mockery version of O Holy Night for the entertainment of the rabble attending. As one commenter put it, it’s no wonder the world laughs at Christians. Even they don’t take their own faith seriously, because they worship a god who is just like THEM.

13 thoughts on “High Desert “church” proving once again that nothing is sacred in American Christianity.

  1. This post caught my attention because, as I mentioned in a comment on your previous post about High Desert Church, this is my mother’s church.

    So I was espescially interested in seeing what kind of perversions and inanities they are engaged in now. Unfortunately, the video is no longer available; it has been removed by the user.


  2. Hey Ralph:

    It is amazing isn’t it? Time and time again; over and over again someone puts a video on YouTube and as soon as someone that disagrees with it links to it . . . WHAMO! The video vanishes.

    I wonder why this is. If the video was such a good idea, and they were having such a frolicking and riotous good time, why remove it when it gets exposed to a wider audience?

    – The Pilgrim


  3. Easy to see clue as to the focus of that church, from their web site. They want to prepare people to change the world. Any church that is oriented toward “changing the world” will be attracted to the world and end up allowing the world to be a dangerous influence on her. Our mission is to proclaim Christ to spiritually dead people and make disciples of those who are raised to new life by Him. To any extent that the world is changed, it’s a collateral effect – not the main event.


  4. I am a member of High Desert Church and have been attending this Church for some years and was even baptized there. In no way do I want to claim that my opinions and views speak for the church as a whole, but perhaps I can clear up a very important notion that has been a topic of a previous post.

    At High Desert Church, the mission is to prepare people to change their worlds for Christ. In this we mean our individual worlds not the world as a whole. While I believe that God has the capacity to change the world, we as High Desert Church, do not have the audacity to believe that our church can upend any totalitarian regimes, that we can single-handedly end world hunger or that we alone can quell the spread of evil. What we model our ministry around is the idea of “oikos” which in Greek means “household.” This is the idea that each person has a group of 8-15 people that they are in contact with each and every day. We believe that there are no coincidences in who you share your life with and we believe that the best ministry is a life well-lived. By acting out in faith, by pursuing a real relationship with Christ and by living in compassion and kindness we can each change our own “world” our oikos for Christ! This is the message of HDC and it is the most fundamental message of Christ.

    In addition, if I may address this video that was posted but has since been removed, I think this is a simple misunderstanding. Imagine yourself watching your home videos with a person of another family. While you may be very comfortable and enjoy watching the antics and humor on display, this friend of yours may just be confused by what they are seeing. As an outsider to this family they don’t understand the personalities of those they are watching. In the same way, this video was just a fun moment capturing the silliness of Pastor Tim Kuhl. To those of us in the church family, we might smile at this video. To those outside the church family, this may just seem like craziness, blasphemy even, but if you were to know Pastor Tim Kuhl and his passion for ministry and his heart, you would not be offended by this display but would probably laugh as well.

    At High Desert Church, we aim to be Truthful, Helpful and Enjoyable. While this Youtube moment may have been aimed at being more enjoyable for the audience, surely the message following this captured moment was both truthful and helpful. We must remember to view all things holistically before we are caught up in the minutiae.

    I love HDC and I believe that the ministry behind Head Pastor Tom Mercer and others like Tim Kuhl has changed many individual’s worlds for Christ as it has mine.


  5. I happen to have worked on staff at HDC for some time. I certainly can attest that Brandon’s comments are true of HDC. And about the video, this wasn’t even a church attended event. The song circulated amongst the staff email, and Tim put together the video, staging it as if it were in front of the church, hoping to show it at a staff christmas party for a good laugh. It ended up not even being shown, but somehow still made it online. The church is as solid as they come, and I suppose I would challenge former folks who posted comments to not judge an entire church body based on a single video, especially when you don’t have context as to what the video was for and, as Brandon mentioned, not having context into the personality of the pastor in front of the camera. It concerns me when I see fellow Christians so quick to judge, point fingers, and ultimately determine a church’s validity based on such a vague, small sampling and feel it’s their job to tear it down. As a good rule of thumb in life, and especially in journalism, do your research first, check your sources, and see for yourself. And even then, be slow to judge. There’s always two sides to the story and only Christ truly has the right to determine our intentions.


  6. So because we didn’t know what the inside joke was, and their intentions were not for this video to go public, then it’s all ok?

    Whatever helps you sleep at night. Why do we keep making excuses for these modern, cool, and oh-so-hip, professing Christians who trample on anything and everything held sacred? Why is reverence so passe amongst you guys?

    How can anyone defend taking a time-honored sacred song unto our precious Lord and Savior and obliterating it in the name of humor? If it was so pleasing to God I wonder why it was so quickly removed as soon as sites like this and Slice of Laodicea exposed it.

    I for one learned all I need to know about HDC from this piece about HDC’s golden calf, and Ralph M. Peterson’s firsthand experiences via his mother’s falling prey to their smooth and slick marketing (read here and here). They’re a dime-a-dozen, cookie-cutter, seeker-friendly church. Been there, done that.

    By the way, one’s sincerity, intentions, the context of the pastor’s personality, and his love for God (all very weak excuses often used) are not barometers of truth and proof of conversion. The Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses fit all those criteria but they know the one true and living God no more than a Muslim or Hindu.

    Even the Apostle Paul knew this 2,000 years ago when he acknowledged that some “have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.”

    Repent from the mockery, repent from the worldliness, and turn to the one and true Savior who said that if you love Him you will follow His commands.

    Sincerely and respectfully,
    – The Pilgrim


  7. I am a fellow believer in our Lord Jesus Christ and I am sorry but how is all of this helping the body of Christ come together to stand against the enemy and tell others of His salvation? I am so saddened by all of these comments and my heart grieves to hear fellow brothers and sisters in Christ attacking one another. No matter what you think, I do not feel that it pleases Christ to see His children going against one another. We are all God’s children created in His image!!! I am sure that it goes for all of us that we love Him and want to worship Him and learn more about Him. Please think about the harm you are causing the body of Christ as you are saying these words. They are spiteful and mean. You are judging someone you have never even sat down with and spoken to! Even as I write this I myself know that I have been guilty of casting accusations against someone and God has shown me how wrong I have been. We are all going to be in eternity together and it is sad that we are taking our time on earth tearing each other apart! I encourage you all to go back and study your bible and really search your heart, ask God to show you maybe a better way to approach this than slandering your fellow brother. I mean didn’t we learn anything from the Pharisees and their self righteousness and Christ’s responses to them??? I send this with a prayerful heart that my fellow brothers and sisters would come together as the Church that we are meant to be, standing together united with Christ.


  8. Dear Sad one:

    I am sorry to hear that your broad brush of “God’s Children” encompasses anyone who claims Jesus without any discernment otherwise.

    Doesn’t your Bible speak of the many false converts, goats, and wolves that infiltrate the Church? Even the Apostles in the 1st century dealt with false converts and wolves. Each of the epistles addresses this problem; showing that even in the early Church we had to beware. Would you dare tell the Apostles to tone it down and stop tearing “each other” apart when they addressed these issues?

    We don’t need to “sit down” with anyone who mocks our Savior or teaches false doctrine or a skewed Gospel anymore than the Apostle Paul had to “sit down” with the man in 1 Corinthians 5. Never compromise!

    Furthermore, you say we’re causing damage to the body? How so? By exposing error are we not warning the weaker brothers and sisters and are we not showing an unbelieving world that we as Christians have a Biblical standard and we have convictions about the truth? That’s something the world is dying to finally see in Christianity. Instead, all they see is us acting like them but telling them they need to be like us to “be happy.”

    I for one am grateful for others ahead of me who have pointed out the errors, traps, and slippery slopes all around. They have undoubtedly helped keep me from shipwrecking my faith. I just wished I had listened to the words of warning back in the early 90’s when I got involved in the Charismatic movement. It would have saved me many years of heartache and not filled my head with much error that I’m still trying to correct even today.

    Have you not read what this church did to Ralph M. Petersen’s mother and other ones like her? Where’s your righteous indignation at that?

    We live in a touchy-feely time when we’re expected to ignore false doctrine, heresy and (in this case) professing Christians who openly mock Christ (as a joke of course). Well, we will not capitulate.

    I highly recommend you check back here on DefCon next Wednesday (February 4th). The featured sermon of the week will be on Christian Unity. You and others who think allowing any behavior and teaching into your church for the sake of unity must hear it. You may–if you’re receptive–come away with a whole different outlook on what Christian unity is and what it isn’t.

    – The Pilgrim

    The idea of preaching positively without contending for the faith is a compromise of Biblical truth.John Ashbrook


  9. Sad one~ you are correct in saying we should not judge, but you are wrong in assuming what’s posted here is judging. Please understand the warnings found repeatedly in scripture concerning deception. This form of attack by Satan is so subtle, yet so very effective. The first use of deception as a way to trick mankind is found in Genesis 3:1, by twisting God’s clear command and deceiving Eve into thinking God wasn’t serious, Satan deceived Eve. This is what God’s word says regarding apostasy, deception, false teaching-which is so very rampant in America today; “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”-Eph. 5:11
    Now, more than ever, is the time to cry out for discernment, to bury yourself in scripture, and please, to be extremely careful in yoking yourself with everyone who calls themselves a ‘Christian’. There is so much out there that claims to be Christian, yet, is nothing more than Satan’s age old effective method of ‘deception’.
    Most Americans want a form of Christianity that is comfortable, not offensive, and allows them to continue loving this world and what it has to offer. BUT, this kind of christianity is NOT what Christ wants; instead He demands this of His followers…””If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”-Luke 9:23
    “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”-Mat. 10:37
    “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”-1 John 2;15
    “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”-John 12:25
    If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. “-John 15:29
    “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. “-2 Tim. 3:12
    “and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his [own] household.”-Mat. 10:36
    “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”-Phil. 3:20
    “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”-Luke 13:24
    “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”-Acts 14:22

    It is so clear that truly following Christ means you will not be popular, you will be hated, and you will suffer persecution from family, friends, co-workers, etc., and you will not desire the things of this world, or what this world deems as relevant. You will struggle through this life, knowing the trials you face draw you closer to Him and bring you to maturity as a believer. You will strive for continual holiness in reverence of Him, being in awe of His Holiness, and desire in every part of your being to keep from dishonoring or sinning against Him. These are things only God can bring to fruition in us, as we read His word, walk in obedience to it, and walk in His Spirit.


  10. Well I was curious to see the heart of this website and my eyes have truly been opened to what you all are about. You are taking time out of your day to “bring light into the world” about those that are “wolves” within the flock. Here is my take on what you are all about.

    First you assumed you knew me and who I was and what I believed. I in no way assume that when someone professes to be a Christian they are one. I observe them to see Christ in them and recognize them by their fruits and proceed to find out their testimony and who Christ is to them. I for one accepted Christ at a young age, attended a local Christian school and Christian University and have been blessed to be raised in a home with Godly parents.

    I am pretty familiar with my scripture though I am in constant need of studying and listening to the Word of God on a daily basis. Thank you for taking your time to write out all of that scripture that was kind of you but I am familiar with what you have stated and am not ignorant to what Christ says and what he wants for me in my life as a Christian.

    Secondly when it comes to the accusing our fellow brothers in Christ let’s consider this,
    Who are you to judge others? by Paul Copan
    “Matthew 7:1 ‘Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.’ When we say don’t judge we are in return judging. (As you can see I am treading carefully because I truly don’t know you and don’t want to accuse). You have done wrong by saying someone else has done wrong! Clearly, we can’t escape making moral judgments… Jesus did say, ‘Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment.’ (Jn 7:24) How do we resolve the apparent tension? By taking not of the spirit in which we make judgments. Do we think that we are superior (the attitude that Jesus condemned), or are we assessing actions or attitudes with a spirit of humility and concern, recognizing our own weaknesses (1 Co 10:13, Gl 6:1)? In Mathew 7:5 it talks about examining ourselves before we try to take the speck out of our brother’s eye. The wrong kind of judging is condemning. The right kind of judging is properly evaluating moral matters with a humble, helpful attitude. We should treat others in a way in which we want to be treated. (Is this blog not a form of gossip against Pastor Tim Kuhl and the rest of the High Desert Church staff?) Furthermore we must take care to avoid the ‘Who am I to say So and So is wrong?’ mentality.

    I personally want to close this in saying that I am a proud member of HDC and also a friend of Pastor Tim Kuhl, Pastor Tom and some of the others mentioned in the other article. We are a church that teaches the way to salvation is by accepting Christ into your heart and building a personal relationship with Him. Our mission is to spread the gospel to our “oikos” the people God has strategically put into our lives. We have such wonderful people on staff that love God and everyday seek to learn and apply His word. We at HDC recognize we are sinners and we will be until the day that we die but by the grace of God He will and has forgiven us! We make mistakes and we continually are asking Christ to forgive us and show His grace and mercy on us. I am not going to judge what happened on the video but I do know that if it was causing problems for others and they themselves felt it was a mistake, they would take it off. Yeah it could be offensive, have your second to be offended and then get past it, recognize people make mistakes and forgive them! Come and attend a service at HDC, see what it is about, but here is a clue… they will tell you that it is not about them (HDC), it is all about HIM (Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ)!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe that is what DEFCON should be, just a suggestion! =) See you in eternity, we can talk more then! (I have a feeling it won’t be about all this though)


  11. curious (or whatever name you are using for your attack questions),

    First, if your questions were being posed in a manner which reflected that you were desirous of learning, you would probably find that your comments would be posted. When you come on here with the intent of attacking us because of the truth which bothers you or because we have defended the faith against an apostate church or false teachers that you may like, you are not coming with a right spirit and should probably take the time to read our Rules of Engagement before choosing to park here at this site when there are plenty of other places where you may go to read and comment.

    Second, your question about Matthew 18:15-20 shows a clear lack of understanding about the Biblical approach towards those who are not following the commands of Scripture and who instead choose to pander to the world. It also shows that you do not understand the matter of CHURCH discipline.

    Third, as we have defined church discipline at length within our website and its correct use, I will not belabor the point here. Suffice it to say though that there are 5 steps of CHURCH discipline and Matthew 18 is dealing with matters found within a local church context. If an individual were found publicly flaunting their testimony and bringing disgrace upon the name and testimony of the church and the Lord Jesus Christ, they would negate all steps but the final one which is being brought directly before the church. If no godly sorrow and repentance was forthcoming from that individual due to being brought before the church, then removing them from the protection of the local assembly and treating them as an unbeliever would be the necessary and biblical step.

    Finally, several writers of the New Testament books make it clear that there was no back-and-forth dialogue with those who were causing divisions, teaching error, seeking to hold hands with the world, etc. The local assemblies and the pastors were clearly instructed to mark them, avoid them, point out their error, and rebuke them.

    The “church” social club in question does not fit into the category of necessary church discipline. They are an autonomous gathering separate and not accountable to any other congregations. While they are accountable to God, it is imperative that a church practice biblical discipline and teach sound doctrine within its midst. When other true churches see another group who claim the name of Christ and yet are not following the path of Scripture, it is imperative that they warn others of the danger that is creeping in to steal away the sheep with the things of the world.

    Out of curiosity, if you believe so strongly that Matthew 18:15-20 was necessary in this situation, why did you not use it in approaching us instead of leaving caustic comments which will not see the light of day at this site????

    The Desert Pastor


  12. ‘HDC~ changing your world for cash…one dollar at a time. ‘ I went to this church for almost 3 years…I have never seen such greed and cliches and hypocracy…most of these people obviously havent been to a church that truly SERVES.

    I swallowed old Tom saying my 10% gross tithe wasnt enough…”because i was only being obedient giving 10% and if i was REALLY GIVING it would be way more than 10%, after all, says Tom, if your kid only does his chores, big deal, you want him to do more freeley and joyously!” Convenient. SO i did give more…and more…and more..then I wasnt ‘doing’ enough because i wasnt giving enough hours to the church, so I did…6 hours on sunday. Then I wasnt ‘in’ enough groups. Ok. JOIN.

    Tom is as good as a late nite infomercial.. BUT WAIT! Theres MORE! Give now! Lol. Ahh GREED. I knew I was done here at Christmastime…my last attendance ever at this church….
    One of my favorite things at the holiday is to choose a few tags off the tree, you know the ones, with families and children especially that have a Christmas wish, you take the tag and bring that present back marked for little tommy or suzie and put it inder the tree. I was happy to see that HDC actually had this, Surprised actually because it wasnt there the year before. Yeah well the tags, every single one, (I checked), were for the church. New amp please! New marble tile please! $200 choir gft please! New flat screen for the whatever room please! Wow. Just wow. HDC I am so over you. Its okay tho, because youre so not over yourself.


  13. I have been attending this church for 5 years. Though I have met a few wonderful people, I always leave feeling sad and discouraged. I attended a Christmas party with a leading pastor & he made jokes you wouldn’t want your children to hear. I also have been a part of two small groups & the genre of Christians at this church seem the same, not too serious about their walk with God. After being in one small group for over a year & having to leave because of lack of childcare my husband & I never heard from them again, even after asking 1ce or 2ce how they were doing via. text message. I have really felt that there is a barrier between the wealthy people in the church & the lower middle class. I have dressed down & dressed up, attended various services. I feel this church is a ‘feel good’ church, I’m sure there are many lovely Christians walking right with the Lord, however I have met few & considering I have been involved for almost 5 years, that speaks a lot. I am currently seeking another church as I feel unwanted here, despite all the attempts I’ve made to be involved in this church


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