The roots of the Concerned Parents Group go back to July 2008 when evangelical churches in the beautiful Hillcrest/Kloof suburbs near Durban in South Africa began to encounter concerns about the teachings and practices of a local partner church of Church Team Ministries International. (CTMI). Pastors in a local fraternal discovered common issues with this group targeting youth in their congregations. News began emerging of heartbroken parents whose children seemed to become obsessed with this group and changed their attitudes towards homes and churches where they grew up. Soon afterwards they left home to either live nearby in CTMI homes and/or leave for Mauritius. In some cases studies and careers were abandoned. Some churches warned their congregations and the local Christian community of the cultish nature of CTMI.
Elders from one church met with CTMI leaders and their eyes were opened after they were told they were “pathetic Pharisees” and that they were “scared of losing people because CTMI had something they did not have – apostolic anointing and revelation”. No compassion was shown for hurting parents and a CTMI leader bluntly said “Jesus did not come to bring peace in families but a sword”. This website exists because further attempts at engaging meaningfully with members and leaders have failed. Some parents managed to arrange for their children to see a local pastoral therapist, Sean Semple. He was so concerned with what he found that in January 2009 he wrote a letter of concern to local churches and schools. In that letter he noted the following results from his time with CTMI members and research of their documentation:
- An increasing involvement in the life of Grace Gospel Church to the detriment and exclusion of previously held hobbies, commitments, friends and ultimately of the individual’s family;
- A dramatic change in study and career plans usually in favor of study or work for CTMI;
- A loss of independent and critical reasoning;
- Uncharacteristically stilted conversation heavily dependent on church jargon and discourse;
- A flattened and artificial affect: i.e. non-spontaneous “robotic” emotional responses;
- Growing arrogance and judgmental attitudes towards people outside of their church to the extent of paranoia;
- Growing deceitfulness;
- Increasing aggression in response to being challenged about the church;
- An obsessive conviction to move to CTMI’s building project in Trianon, Mauritius.
Church Team Ministries International claims an authority and validity for their organisation that is not substantiated by the theology of the historic Christian Church or the contemporary Church itself. It advocates an unbalanced theology which depersonalises and disempowers individuals.”
A few affected parents decided to begin meeting regularly as a support group to share experiences and pray for one another and their children. This group has grown as more parents became affected. The group has also been joined by ex-members of CTMI who have been hurt in one way or another by their experiences in CTMI. It has also networked with folks in Zimbabwe, USA and UK who have had similar experiences due to the common and powerful influence of Miki and Audrey Hardy who lead the movement out of Mauritius.