Derek trained for the Baptist ministry at Glasgow University and the Scottish Baptist College, completing a BD joint honours degree in 1977. He was the Minister of Crown Terrace Baptist Church, Aberdeen from 1977-1983 and was Senior Minister of Croxley Green and Sarratt Baptist Churches in Hertfordshire, 1983-1994. During this time he successfully completed doctoral studies in the field of Old Testament studies at Glasgow University in 1988.
He was one of the Senior Chaplains at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust from 1994-2001.
He has co-written, The Chaplaincy Volunteers Training Resource, which is used as a resource nationally and produced, In search of Wholeness: A Christian Theology of Healing and Practical Training for Church and Medical Settings, together with Russ Parker.
Derek has three children and five grandchildren. His other interests include gardening and walking.