Call it deception or being gullible, when I was 17 years old I wandered into a group which years later I had to acknowledge was, by definition, a cult. Whether I was ever "brainwashed" or "programmed" is highly doubtful, but I was deeply impacted by one man and his teachings of the Bible. I was so impacted that I chose to become a leader in his ministry and faithfully serve as an ordained minister for many years.
The problems started when this man's health started deteriorating and the kingdom he built started to crumble due to his inability to directly oversee it. It did not help that this man, who taught God wanted everyone healed all the time, was stricken with cancer. Instead of his illness rallying the ministry, greedy wolves moved in to commandeer as many adherents as possible for their splinter groups which would arise after he passed away.
The ministry ended up splitting, first in half and later into a hundred pieces. 26 years after the man died who founded the ministry, what remains is a tiny group which does not even recognize the original founder and thousands of hurt and angry people scattered around the world who found out that what they had learned was at best plagiarized material and at worst, lies.
I know by experience how dangerous it is to follow the teachings of ONE PERSON (unless He is Jesus Christ). Any group or ministry that revolves around the doctrine or teachings of one individual should immediately capture our attention. That is not to say the group is bad, but caution must be exercised before becoming a fully devoted member.
I walked away from that ministry way back in 1986 before it fell into a state of total disarray and confusion. After my personal life and ministry suffered intolerable setbacks, I had no desire to participate in the power struggles going on among various factions.
Looking back, I see clearly how silly it was to believe God would only reveal His truth to ONE PERSON, who in turn would build a ministry that was supposedly the only genuine one on earth. Clearly I see now how devilish this was and how it built an attitude of elitism, arrogance and the smug belief we were better than anyone else because we knew the truth.
Any group, ministry, church or organization entirely built upon the charisma of one person lives and dies with that person. Those who feel God has called them to start a ministry must make absolutely sure that ministry is build upon the Word of God and not their personality and ability to win and influence people.
There is certainly nothing wrong with a man or woman building a ministry or church just so long as it is all about Christ and not them. Over the years I have seen innumerable people fall into the trap of living for the accolades of others while allowing the power of their position to grant them special privileges. We are to be servants not lords over God's heritage.
Every person who has been called to serve the Lord must continually search his/her hearts to make sure their motives are pure and that they have not allowed themselves to think higher of themselves than they should. A minister is by definition a servant not the master. Ministry therefore is service rendered on behalf of THE MASTER.