With a 24-foot-long trailer equipped to turn a middle school cafeteria into a church service, Desert Springs Church of Chandler is opening up a new campus in Gilbert at Cooley Middle School in Gilbert.
The Christian church’s new campus will be up and running on Oct. 20 at the school, 1100 S. Recker Road.
Desert Springs Church has existed in Chandler for about 22 years, with 700 people attending their Sunday services.
Executive Pastor Bryan Durrett said an additional campus was needed to accommodate the number of people from Gilbert who attend services.
Starting as a portable church in 1998, Desert Springs planted its Chandler roots at 19620 S. McQueen Road with a permanent campus in 2012.
“I love the town of Gilbert, I love the family and the community environment that’s there,” Durrett said. “My wife and I feel called to the town.”
Durrett and his wife Lynette were born and raised in Northern California.
Upon moving to Arizona, the two decided to become pastors and earned ministry licenses. Together, they have worked for the church for eight and a half years.
“We’re a church that wants to be the church and not just a church, we want to be involved in the community and be engaged in what’s going on,” Durrett said.
Gilbert resident James Estrada began attending Desert Springs a month ago and is thrilled to learn about the new campus opening just five minutes from his house.
“We love it,” Estrada said. “We love the preaching, we love the people and the things they do for children is fantastic.”
Although the church holds services every Sunday, Durrett claims that most activities involve small group ministries in people’s homes.
“We do life together,” Durrett said. “We believe in relationships over religion, that’s kind of our mantra, we love people and having relationships with people and with God over what we would call religion.”
With the growth of the Desert Springs Gilbert campus, they hope to one day open up a permanent location there as well.
Until then, Durrett said the portable church is a good place to start.
Durrett said he has met with Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels and that he plans to have the church become a part of the local community by volunteering, working with other ministries to serve food to underprivileged kids and adopting a senior living home where they can provide residents with church services.