Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Phil. 1:2-11, NIV)

“Wow – that was an incredible ride!”

We had just gotten off the “Incredible Hulk” roller coaster at Universal Studios Orlando and our heads were still spinning from the crazy twists, turns, launches, and upturns going 70 miles per hour!  It really was an incredible ride.

The last ten years have been an even more incredible ride.  It has been ten years of some crazy twists, turns, and upturns as together we have launched the children’s ministry movement for The Wesleyan Church.  It has been an incredible privilege to take this ride with you!

In Philippians 1 Paul offers a prayer of thanks to his partners in ministry – those whom he shares much in common. As I look forward to a new ministry adventure, I look back over the years and am reminded of your faithfulness and the incredible joy you have provided me.  I do thank God for the privilege it has been to partner with you in the ministry to His children.

My prayer for you in this farewell is the same as Paul’s for his friends: “that your love may abound more and more,” that your knowledge and insight will be great so you can discern truly what is best, and that you will be so filled with His righteousness that your life will be a living praise, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”.

Thank you for being my friend and partner in ministry, for your support and steadfastness, and thank you most of all for your commitment to Him and your ministry to His kids.  This truly has been an incredible ride!  I can’t wait to see what else He is going to do through you.

After seventeen years working at the Wesleyan World Headquarters and nearly eleven years serving as Director of Children’s Ministries, I (Colleen Derr) will be transitioning to Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University where I join the faculty as Assistant Professor of Christian Ministry and Congregational Formation.