When Mark Clayton is not breaking records as the receiver for the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, he’s dedicating his time to spread Christ’s message through his new apparel company, MyChristianT.com.
During the lockout, Clayton and a friend began to get more serious about getting into the t-shirt business but with a Christian perspective fit for the fashion world, he told The Christian Post.
“It started with me and a friend, we were just having a conversation about being in football as a second career and we got to talking about fashion and ended up at t-shirt and we wanted to get into it from a Christian perspective.”
The hip brand displays messages such as “hope,” “I Twitter Jesus,” “saved,” “Truth,” “King of Kings,” “Property of Jesus” and “Team Jesus” with the alpha and omega Greek letters imprinted across the chest.
The look of the designs is often compared to those offered by brands such as Ed Hardy, Affliction, or Aeropostale – but with its own identity and purpose.
Through the company, founded in 2010, the shirts are meant to accomplish two important things, he said: “It represents our dedication and commitment to Christ and the message that we portray such as the message of hope and embracing our purpose and God’s truth.”
With their t-shirts worn at home, work, or school, their greatest hope is for people to inquire about them and ask “where did you get that from and what does it mean?” and eventually begin the conversation about God.
According to a screen printing industry trade magazine, Impressions, the t-shirt’s message will be viewed 3,000 times in its lifespan.
Growing up, the football player never imagined having such sincere devotion to God. While growing up in church, he learned the church language and knew the Bible “but in all of that the Lord did not have my heart,” he said.
“It wasn't until a few years ago that the Lord came in and changed my heart and allowed me to desire a true relationship, not just a ritual or a religion. From that moment, the way I see things through the Gospel, I really understand what the Gospel is about. I talk to people and share Christ with people and it's just complete.”
The relationship with Christ is especially important for him as a resident of the world of football, he shared.
Everyone wants to be around the 28-year-old football star, women and men alike, for various reasons, he said. Women are attracted to the position and the finance, and men want to advance their popularity and finances, he noticed.
“That happens on a daily basis. You never know the heart of the person.”
Setting distance between those situations and himself would be ideal, he said, but unfortunately, it also takes away from the opportunity of representing Christ.
“You kind of guard yourself but sometimes it goes beyond the extreme and it takes away from people, community, and relationships that matter and really represent the Gospel, represent Christ.”
The constant communication with God from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed is the primary source of strength for the Texas native, something he highly recommends.
Beginning a conversation about Christ is also encouraged on the t-shirt website. Users can share their story, participate in interactive online contests and connect with others via spiritual discussions.
Explaining his ultimate goal, he said, “That was the point of it all to create something that continues to generate funds, to found different outreach programs, scholarships [and help] groups that disciple in a day to day basis in lower income houses. They are there, they live there, that’s where they eat and sleep so we want to help them.”
These programs will include a college scholarship ministry, performing arts fund, mission trip rewards and outreach activities that will benefit the community.
Clayton is spokesperson and member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also a founding member of Pros for Africa, which allows NFL players and other professionals from any field such as teachers, lawyers, physicians, and others to give back to a continent greatly in need.
He concluded by sharing that “sometimes as Christians, life doesn't go as planned or as we liked them to but I have really come to terms [that] God is faithful and He is in control even when I'm not or when things don't go the way I want them to be or whatever that is.”
On the Web: www.mychristiant.com