Originally published in Worship Leader Magazine on Oct 14, 2015.
What happens when God asks you to launch an international worship and ministry school in Costa Rica?…
The Spirit of God is moving in this Central American nation, stoking the flames of revival and turning hearts towards Himself. We’re watching miraculous events unfold as we invite Him to come and pour out His goodness! He is healing the sick, delivering the oppressed, restoring broken relationships and calling home the prodigals.
We’re convinced now is the time, so we’re taking action. We’re building a worship and ministry school where students aren’t just taught to be revivalists, but every day they are sent out to practice it! They are bringing the Kingdom into public schools, hospitals, jails, churches and the streets, pouring out the love of Jesus in every corner of the nation.
All this is happening right now in the form of ten-day outreach trips, and the next step – ten-week long school sessions – begins in April 2016.
How It All Started
Three years ago the Lord began speaking very clearly to my wife and me about starting a school of worship.
I have to confess that I didn’t receive this word with much enthusiasm; I was confident that the world didn’t really need another worship school. In fact, there were already thousands of effective, fruitful training programs for worship leaders across the globe.
From the time I was 20, I had attended many of these schools myself, including programs led by YWAM, Bob Fitts, Chuck Girard, Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Bethel and others. Each had value and offered excellent tools, teaching and spiritual depth which helped me to grow as a worship leader.
And there were countless others! – incredible worship schools such as Hillsong, IHOP, Toronto, MorningStar, Christ for the Nations, DLA, New Life, World Revival, Thrive, River, Elevate, Living Light and hundreds more brand-name and independent schools in nearly every state of the US and virtually every nation.
Then there’s also the problem with the vessel. I mean, who’s Chris Nesbitt, anyway, and what business does he have starting a worship school? Seems like the minimum requirement should be at least one CCLI top 10, which means I don’t qualify.
While this sounds completely tongue-in-cheek, and while I fully recognize that the Lord weighs the heart, the practical truth is that we mere humans weigh everything else. Case in point, it was a familiar name that drew me to the worship schools I’ve attended. Why should it be any different for others?
Begging your pardon, Lord, but isn’t this a bit superfluous?
So I responded with a somewhat obligatory, “let your will be done” which was code for: this sounds like a bad idea, and frankly, I’m not that interested.
Nevertheless, the Lord had spoken so clearly that I had to take His instruction seriously. My wife and I entered into a week of intentional prayer and fasting on the matter, concluding with us asking the Lord for a large and obvious confirmation.
About a month later, our church hosted a South African speaker with a very accurate prophetic gift. To our great surprise, she singled my wife and me out in front of our entire church with the words: “You are to start a school of worship.”
The Waiting Game
Most of us understand what it’s like to wait for the Lord to fulfill the words He has spoken. A missionary friend of mine who happens to be joining our team, Jeffrey Simons, put it like this: “God speaks a promise over us, then He grows us into it.” I can relate well, having myself received promises from the Lord which have taken 8, 15, or even 25 years to be fulfilled.
But He is always faithful. If the promise is indeed born of His Spirit, it eventually comes to pass.
In this case, it only took 18 months – a mere blink of an eye in Kingdom time, but just enough delay to get comfortable with the idea that I may not ever have to deal with it. Maybe the Lord had forgotten once He realized that it was just not a priority?
During this time, I met with my pastor and elders and submitted the whole thing to them for direction, accountability, continued confirmation, and the outside chance of passing the buck. They were unanimously supportive and essentially released me to run with it.
Run with what? Where do I start?
It was beginning to feel like everybody knew what I was supposed to do but me.
The suddenly moment arrived on December 18, 2014. I received a call from a stranger – a brother in Christ named Steve Hertzog. He and his wife Judi wanted to meet with us to share a ministry idea, having heard of us by reputation through a mutual friend.
Over lunch, the Hertzogs related that after preparing for 25 years to retire in southwestern Costa Rica, they had heard the call of God and had done an about-face, donating their private land to serve as a campus for a new school of ministry.
It was just the two of them and a vision, and they were believing God to bring ministry partners with a passion for worship and skillsets to match. We then shared what the Lord had spoken to us about a worship school, and Kingdom fireworks ignited as CRSSM began taking shape.
Since then, there’s been no looking back. Ten-day outreach trips launched in 2015 and have been met with unusual favor, as the Hertzogs, led by the Holy Spirit, have set a high standard and rapid pace for loving the lost, taking risks and expecting the supernatural with every step.
The disparity between what I thought God wanted and what He actually wanted is massive. I’ve gone from being fearful and even dreading the idea to being fully in. Truth is, I’ve never been more excited about anything in my life. This is what I was made for.
What is CRSSM?
The Costa Rica Supernatural School of Ministry is an on-location 10-week leadership training program where what you learn today will be put into practice tomorrow. We provide Christian leadership development, ministry equipping, and hands-on mission training for Spirit-filled students from around the globe.
Our mission is to produce passionate Kingdom builders while impacting the region for Christ. We’re committed to the truth that God loves people, gave Himself for them, and has given His Church supernatural power to bring individuals and nations into wholeness. It is our goal to train students to continue in the ministry style of Jesus: to enjoy the presence of God, say what He is saying and do what He is doing. We aim to create a “teach and do” culture where all of our students are expected to take risks to stretch their faith and grow in their understanding of God. The school is designed to equip students to live a supernatural lifestyle, bringing heaven to earth wherever they go.
“Our school’s focus is worship and the presence of God. We are committed to pursuing intimacy, power, passion, and God’s living Word, and experiencing an atmosphere always overflowing with the Holy Spirit.” Steve Hertzog – Founder, CRSSM
The School of Worship is a specific discipline built into the 10-week ministry program. Those students who are skilled and called as worship leaders will receive intentional training in the form of mentoring and discipleship, one of the distinctives of this school. Musicianship is a prerequisite, as our imperative is to mentor the heart of the worship leader and activate their ability to host God’s presence. This is done in practicum, with students receiving real-time guidance while they lead worship in small groups as well as in the larger, all-school worship sessions. As the students progress, they will also have opportunity to participate in the training of worship teams in local churches.
Academic instruction is taught by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, giving the learning experience a living perspective with a five-fold distinction. Students receive lessons from high-profile, international speakers who are anointed not just to teach but also to activate in others the anointing which they carry.
Our students are English-speaking, Spirit-filled believers from around the world. Whatever their God-given calling, they possess in common a hunger for a move of the Holy Spirit and a longing to see God’s Kingdom come to earth. We are a multigenerational school where students of all ages learn to create a culture of honor, serving one another in love. Students must be responsible, teachable and fully committed and submitted to their local church body.
As I mentioned, CRSSM also hosts short-term ministry outreach trips. These 10-day trips are for Spirit-filled believers who are mature in their faith and are operating in their spiritual gifts with boldness and humility, ready in season to bring a word, testimony, song or prophecy as Holy Spirit directs.
“Our time in Costa Rica was wild!! Each time we took a risk, God stepped up and released his Spirit!! It was amazing for our team to get caught up in God’s love for the people of this nation and to see him pour out his faithfulness!” Jamie McLeod – Director, MLSSM
In both the 10-day outreach trips and the 10-week school sessions, outreach emphasis is ministry to local churches, hospitals, schools, prisons and street corners, bringing salvation, healing, deliverance and prophetic ministry as the Lord leads.
Near the border of Panama on the Pacific side, CRSSM is located in the southeastern corner of Pavon Bay between Playa Zancudo and Pavones (a world-renown surf break). The campus is nestled on a hillside approximately one mile from the beach in Pilon de Pavones.
To date, we’re a very lean team, and we’re laying down everything and leaving behind our careers to chase after this call. But it’s not enough. We need your help, and we are asking you to consider getting involved. Our first session begins this coming April. We still have facilities to build and student enrollment to develop, formidable tasks without a marketing department or budget. But God has already opened door after amazing door:
- He’s brought high-profile, international speakers who’ve heard God’s call and have committed to come and teach.
- He’s given us increasing favor with a myriad of local churches throughout the region – believers hungry for revival!
- He’s removed insurmountable obstacles for my family and others who’ve said yes to serve in this ministry.
- He’s allowed every 10-day outreach team to witness fantastic miracles of healing and deliverance.
And now, He’s brought you!
You are His next miracle in this unfolding story, and we’re ready to celebrate with you as you jump in!
Will you help us?
Spread the word – Tell your pastor, friends, family members and community groups about CRSSM. In addition to our website, you’ll find us on most popular social media sites where you can like us, friend us, tweet us, follow us, plus us, or otherwise grassroots-grow us!
Join us – Attend our 10-week school or a 10-day outreach. Apply at www.crssm.org/apply .
Donate – CRSSM is building facilities to train and disciple international students and bring workers into the heart of the harvest in Costa Rica. Visit our crowd-funding campaign at www.crssm.org/donate .
Pray – We’re looking to build an alliance of prayer warriors who will covenant with us in intercession. To join the prayer team, send an email to [email protected]
Personal support – God has completely shifted our paradigms as a family, inviting us to be ALL IN. My wife and I are leaving behind our business and careers to chase after this calling wholeheartedly. Will you send us? Visit our personal crowd-funding site at www.youcaring.com/nesbitt .
Chris Nesbitt is a business owner, worship leader and a writer of songs, many of which have been selected for Worship Leader Magazine’s Song DISCovery. He has taught worship leaders all over the globe and, except for a few years in Franklin TN, has called San Clemente his home for 25 years. He and his wife, Tiffany, have four children and are in the throes of preparations to relocate to Costa Rica as they launch CRSSM, where Chris serves as Director of Operations. Learn more about the Nesbitt family at www.nesbitt.ws .