Our Pastor

Pastor Dan Woodward along with Wife: Cindy and Children: Austin & Rachel Merriott, Rebekah, & RuthAnne.

In January of 1985, Brother Woodward was in line to see Dr. Jack Hyles at the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, concerning pastoring a certain church.  Brother Kevin Walker, also a student at Hyles-Anderson College and from the First Baptist Church in Dwight, Illinois, was in line behind Brother Woodward.  While they were waiting, Brother Walker asked Brother Woodward if he would be interested in coming to Dwight to preach, since the church was without a pastor at this time.  Brother Woodward agreed but told Brother Walker that Brother Hyles already had a church for him.  When it was Brother Woodward’s turn to meet with Brother Hyles, Brother Hyles told Brother Woodward that the church situation had fallen through, and he would get in touch with him when he had another church opportunity, which never came.

When Brother Woodward came home from church that night, he received a call from Carl Baker asking if he would be interested in filling the pulpit at the First Baptist Church in Dwight.  Brother Woodward told Brother Baker he would be glad to do that.  After filling the pulpit, Brother Woodward was asked to candidate for pastor.  Though Brother Woodward was voted down, the Woodwards felt certain that the First Baptist Church was God’s will for them.  Brother Woodward never candidated elsewhere at this time but had fourteen different opportunities to pastor; however, every one of them fell through.  It was very obvious to him that the Lord was preparing him for Dwight.

In June, Brother Woodward was asked to come back by petition.  The young couples in the church, led by Brother Baker, wanted Brother Woodward to come back for another vote.  Many members had left over the past four months, and Brother Woodward carried eighty-six percent of the vote to become pastor.  He became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dwight on June 16, 1985, and is lovingly known as “Preacher.”