Among the dozens of signs bearing the names of political candidates in the Capital Region dotting the sides of roads and lawns as November's midterm elections approach, discerning drivers may spot one sign that is different than the rest.
Arise Church International, which hosts its services in Regal Center Stadium 13 Movie Theaters at Colonie Center, recently put out signs that read "Elect Jesus," throughout Colonie, Clifton Park and Schenectady to promote the church's services.
Dan Jones, with Arise Church, explained that the idea to do a political sign came to him a month ago as he drove to work and noticed the usual signs for candidates.
Jones moved to Clifton Park a decade ago from Virginia Beach, and noticed a lack of signage in this area encouraging people to visit church, something that was common in his previous city of residence.
"We don't see a lot of that here," Jones said.
Having the idea of creating a political sign for a church was like a light bulb going off in his head, Jones said.
"I wanted it to be a fun way to engage with people and to bring Jesus into the conversation," he sad. "We wanted to make it fun. Jesus helps everyone who comes to him."
Jones found templates for political signs online. Once they were created, he distributed them across a few towns. Soon, Jones said, people began to notice the signs and post about them on social media.
One woman who was not a member of Arise Church, but was moved by the signs, contacted him to ask if she could keep one, Jones said.
Some signs are at the corner of Balltown Road and Riverview Road in Clifton Park. Others can be found along Route 146.
Arise Church, which is a multicultural, non-denominational Christian church, is only 1 year old.
"We're pretty diverse," Jones said. "We love people."
But as a new church, Jones said that one of the main hurdles Arise Church still has to overcome is trying to reach people. The church hosts services on Sunday mornings and youth programs throughout the year.
One reason for the signs was to spread the word of the church's existence, and to approach people on their own terms.
The signs are also meant to show people that, during a time in which people are highly polarized and divided by politics, God can be a universal concept.
Frequently, Jones said, people who fall on opposite sides of the political spectrum are incapable of having a conversation together.
He doesn't watch television news networks anymore because of their incendiary nature, he said.
"I've just turned them off," Jones said. "They create an antagonistic attitude."
Since the signs have gone out, Arise Church has received some positive feedback. The number of people who listen to the church's podcast has jumped 400 percent, and Jones is hoping word will spread.
"It sounds like people are willing to have a conversation," Jones said.