DV-headshot-2016Derek Vreeland is the Discipleship Pastor at Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he is known for his thoughtful, humorous, and authentic teaching style. In addition to teaching and leading discipleship ministries at Word of Life Church, Derek enjoys reading, writing, running, and hiking. He and his wife Jenni live in St. Joe and they have three boys Wesley, Taylor, and Dylan.

He is a graduate of Missouri Western State University (B.A. English/Writing), Oral Roberts University (M.Div.), and Asbury Theological Seminary (D.Min). His first book, Shape Shifters, combines his love for the doctrine of the Trinity and spiritual transformation and his second book, Primal Credo, offers a fresh reading of the Apostles’ Creed for modern followers of Jesus. Derek found a whole new audience with his popular summary guides to books by N.T. Wright including Through the Eyes of N.T. Wright: A Reader’s Guide to Paul and the Faithfulness of God and N.T. Wright and the Revolutionary Cross: A Reader’s Guide to The Day the Revolution Began.

His new book By the Way: Getting Serious About Following Jesus is a foundational discipleship book describing what new life looks like when it’s shaped by the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

Derek was born in Mobile, Alabama and grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri. He was baptized in January 1986 marking the beginning of his Christian journey. While in high school in the early 1990s, he began to take his baptismal identity seriously and pursue Jesus with a new found intensity.

Sensing a call to ministry, he threw himself into the life of the church and Bible study. His love for Jesus, Scripture, and the church continued through high school and into college. After a year of marriage, he began seminary at Oral Roberts University, graduating in 1999.

In September of that year, Derek moved his family to Americus, Georgia where he served as the Youth Pastor at Cornerstone Church until 2004, when he became the Pastor. He completed a doctor of ministry degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2007. He continued to serve Cornerstone Church until June 2011, when he joined the leadership team at Word of Life Church.

He is an avid runner and a super fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. He enjoys backpacking and long-distance hiking, and has a curious fascination with the Appalachian Trail (AT). He hiked the first 100 miles of the AT for his 40th birthday. 

He contributes regularly to the writing collectives at Missio Alliance. He loves his family and serving the church through teaching, writing, and speaking wherever God opens the door.

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  • Mark Wampler

    Hey Derek, hello from a fellow mid-westerner. I’m down the road in Kansas City. I found your blog
    after googling “N.T. Wright and Romans 10:3”. I was curious what he did with that verse. I actually just
    put up some thoughts on Tom’s Day the Revolution Began at theologianslibrary.com a site that I’m starting back up again to try and keep up with my writing and to link fellow lovers of theology. Check it out! Thanks for the work here!

    • Derek Vreeland

      Thanks Mark. I will check it out.

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  • DaveP

    He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Col 2:15)

    Dear Derek,

    I couldn’t find an email address (snakebite?) so I sent it here. Apologies for a long “comment”.

    I read and enjoyed your book “N.T. Wright and the Revolutionary Cross”. You seem to have a solid understanding of his theology and I found your book quite helpful. I’m hoping you can help me with a somewhat related question, perhaps point me in the direction of a book or article you’ve read.

    I’m having a difficult time seeing the relationship between worship of idols, sin, forgiveness of sin and thus freedom from idolatry.

    I’ve been reading N.T. Wright for some time and I have found myself struggling (through no fault of his) with a question about idolatry, sin, and redemption. I understand that sin is a result of lifting a God-given gift above God. This idolatry traps us in a cycle of idol worship and sin and back again. I agree this is the foundational problem for mankind, beginning in the garden. I don’t understand why. Just stop worshiping the idol and that should be that. Of course this isn’t how things work and here we are. But why, biblically, is this so? Fast forward into the New Testament and these powers (created by God and thus good) have become dark powers and ruling over us when we are supposed to be in charge of them. Enter Jesus, the crucifixion and somehow these powers are disarmed. How?

    I believe the people of first century Rome would be surprised at my ignorance. It seems they understood the mechanism between idolatry and slavery to sin. But I’m befuddled. Somehow an idol gets its hooks in me once I’ve sinned in its name; somehow Jesus dying on the cross gains me forgiveness of sin and frees me from that idol. Jesus’ crucifixion puts the earthly powers to open shame somehow and then money returns to being just money, sex is just sex, etc. But how? The apostle Paul revels in this victory in such a way that suggests he is stating the obvious to the Colossians. This is my question: what was this obvious thing about which I’m clueless? This is, for me, a critical gap in my understanding of the gospel. How does the crucifixion utterly disarm the dark powers, converting them from the evil masters our idolatry has made them back into powerful servants of children of light? I’m sure it’s right under my nose.

    I hope my question is somewhat clear, and thank you in advance for your time.

    In Him,
    Dave Provost
    Doniphan, NE