John Woodside was born in Larne in 1946. He grew up in Gardenmore Presbyterian congregation, attended Larne Grammar School and studied Biological and Agricultural Sciences at Queen's University, Belfast and completed a Masters Degree in environmental science which led to a number of years lecturing at Greenmount College. It was at Greenmount that he undertook research into the effects of pollution from agricultural wastes on the environment. John played rugby for Larne and Ballymena Rugby Clubs and had a call to fulltime ministry in his early 30s.
After training at Union Theological College he was called to Kilkenny Presbyterian Church where he ministered from 1984- 2002 before receiving and accepting a call to Ballywillan Presbyterian Church where he was installed on 20th April 2002.
From there he moved to Drogheda Presbyterian church and retired from there in 2017.