Lead Pastor

Meet Dean Woodward

On December 10, 2023 members of Eastside voted to confirm the call of Pastor Dean Woodward to become the new Lead Pastor of Eastside Church. Dean officially began at Eastside on January 1, 2024.

Dean was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, along with a brother and three sisters, the children of Pastor Dick and Ginny Woodward. Growing up in a loving home of strong Christian influence, God eventually used Dean’s struggles during high school to bring him to faith in Jesus as his Savior. He reflects that his relationship with God “became daily and life-changing”. As Dean discovered his gifts of pastoring and preaching, his excitement at pursuing the same calling as his earthly father matured into a heartfelt vision of serving the Kingdom.

Dean earned his Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Columbia International University and went on to earn his Master of Theology in Pastoral Ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary. It was at Bible college that Dean met Lynn. Lynn’s own gifting in teaching and outreach have been an important complement to Dean as they have pursued ministry together now for over 36 years.

As a Lead Pastor, Dean has demonstrated his ability. He has the wisdom and experience to guide a church through all seasons by developing a strong and capable team of staff and volunteers. In his own words, “a healthy church naturally grows. The focus is not on church growth but the growth of individuals in their own walk with the Lord. The natural result being the blessings that Jesus brings to the church as lives are surrendered to Him”.

The opportunity for Dean to pastor Eastside, a church with connections to his own father’s legacy, is particularly meaningful to him. Eastside was planted by the Williamsburg Community Chapel, the church where Dick Woodward served as pastor for 34 years. Additionally, Dean & Lynn have family locally. Two of Dean’s sisters and his brother call Williamsburg home, and two of their children (and some grandkids) live nearby! This means an environment for Dean & Lynn that already feels like home – all by the graciousness of God.

Dean’s heart is for ministry – the same purpose as Eastside in making disciples who seek out and serve their own community. And he loves that Eastside is a storefront church! Many of his years as senior pastor of Grace Bible Church were spent in a strip mall on Shore Drive in Virginia beach – years that Dean looks back on with great affection.  His favorite Christian authors include John Ortberg, Philip Yancey, and Tim Keller. Dean’s positive and joyful demeanor and spirit make him wonderfully suited to lead a loving, neighborhood church, resolute on sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.