By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

A Christian clothing line founded by a former NFL player ranks as the top read story on Inside The Pew for 2013.

Mark Clayton, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, launched his own clothing line – My Christian T – back in 2011.Mark Clayton Although Clayton confirmed with Inside The Pew on Twitter in 2012 that he no longer operates the clothing, there is still an interest in the wide receiver’s entrepreneurial aspirations.

Clayton was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2010, but injuries signed the Oklahoma Sooner’s career in the NFL. He told Sean Devine of Did You See That?! in September he has no regrets about his NFL playing days.

“Every minute, every experience, every relationship, I’ll never forget any of it. I’m working hard to come back and I hope to continue my career. Hopefully we can add some more stories, relationships, and experiences to my legacy.”

Three other sports related stories made the top 10. The filming of a biopic on high school football coach Bob Ladouceur in New Orleans came in at No. 4, while stories about Super Bowl XLVII coaches (and brothers) Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh were ranked No. 7 and  No. 8, respectively.

The story of Tyres Dixon, a Houston resident who works for the United Way and winner of the nonprofit organization’s Achiever of the Year, landed at No. 2 on the list.

Three stories from the Pew Business spotlight landed in the top 10. Whitening Lightning founder Jennifer Gerard (No. 3), National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) president and CEO Gary C. Smith (No. 9), and Ezechiel “Zeke” Bambolo and First Born Son Inc. (No. 5) made the annual list.

Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Inside The Pew, was pleased at the amount of popularity generated by the spotlight. The section was officially launched in March.

“When we created the section, we wanted to help boost the presence of like-minded entrepreneurs who take Him in to the workplace every day. These types of stories are what our readers want to see. Hopefully, Christians who are considering entrepreneurship can draw from the stories of these individuals.”

Fly Away Records and its Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nominations (No. 10) and Melanie Stone’s column on the attributes of a Kingdom builder (No. 6) rounded out the top 10.

List of top stories

  1. NFL wide receiver launcher clothing line to give glory to God
  2. Goodwill Industries names Houston man 2013 Achiever of the Year
  3. Gerard to fellow entrepreneurs: Trust Him, great things will occur
  4. Filming of Bob Ladouceur movie takes place in New Orleans
  5. The First Born Son Inc. helps restore individuals and families
  6. Stone: Five marks of a kingdom builder
  7. Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday
  8. John Harbaugh slated keynote speaker at FCA Maryland event
  9. NAEIR redistributes corporations’ unsold products to nonprofits
  10. Fly Away Records snags Rhythm of Gospel Award nod

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Kathy Burrell has been involved with music since she was a little girl growing up in Houston. Along with her siblings, who includes younger sister and gospel megastar Kim Burrell, the quartet learned to spread the gospel through their melodic voices.

Now, Kathy Burrell, an award-winning songwriter, is taking her years of experience in the gospel music circuit and teaching it

Lake Charles mayor Randy Roach, left, and Kathy Burrell during the announcement that Burrell's "The Sound of a New Music Workshop" is coming to Lake Charles, La., in April.

to others who desire to break into the business.

Through her own production company – YourWeh Music – Kathy is touring the southwest and south to stage “The Sound of a New Music” workshops.  The two-day event allows Kathy to provide one-on-one mentoring to aspiring gospel artists. The first day includes a musician showcase, where individuals perform before Kathy and a group of highly regarded clinicians in gospel music. On the second day, a business forum is held where Kathy and the clinicians teach music; provide answers to burning questions; and teach participant how to conduct business in the gospel industry.

Kathy Burrell – The Sound of a New Music Workshop in Port Arthur, Texas

“It is my passion for the kingdom of God that allows me to do this,” Kathy Burrell shared with Inside The Pew. “Nobody grabbed me and my sister and told us anything. I had to learn the hard way.

“I am able to give them those tools before they bump their head. It is an honor and a privilege to do this.”

In 2009, Kathy joined the songwriting ranks with “Yes To Your Will,” a ballad sung by Kim Burrell. The song was nominated

Kathy Burrell is accomplished singer and songwriter.

for a Grammy Award.  Kathy also penned several songs for Kim’s revered “The Love Album;” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2011. Kim took home the Stellar Award’s female vocalist of the year and contemporary female of the year honors in January. Kim mentioned in her acceptance speech that her sister, Kathy, was the power behind the success of “The Love Album” because Kathy wrote most of the songs on the release.

In addition, in February, “Sweeter,” written by Kathy and recorded by Kim earned a Dove Award nomination.

The workshops will make stops in Louisiana later in April and in June. The workshop is slated for 7:30 p.m. on April 20 and April 21 in Leesville and 7:30 p.m. on April 27 and 10 a.m. on April 28 in Lake Charles; June 1 and June 2 in Baton Rouge, and June 15 and 16 in New Orleans. According to Burrell’s website, the locations for these events will be determined.

Kathy Burrell said “The Sound of a New Music” workshops are coordinated through her company, YourWeh Music Productions.

Burrell’s slate also includes the “Woman Be Thou Empowered” conference on May 17 to May 19 at Solid Rock Baptist Church, 1337 East Fifth St., in Port Arthur. The theme of the women’s event is women behind the front line.

Mary Motley, a gospel singer who performs in southeast Texas, attended the Port Arthur workshop on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25.  She said Kathy Burrell made her feel appreciated. By attending the workshop, Motley said she can perfect her talent.

“Kathy is real, and a down-to-earth artist; she is just like me,” said Motley, who has been singing since she was 4 years old. “She has never had the attitude that she is up there and I am down there. I feel she will be instrumental in my career and others who want to get into gospel music. Kathy respected me and my craft.”

Motley said the greatest asset Kathy can provide to up-and-coming artist is the truth about what the recording entails because Kathy Burrell has been around professional gospel music for quite some time.

“Go experience it because I feel I have found a friend for life. Don’t get offended, because she is tough. Come with an open mind and don’t come with your heart on your sleeve.”

To register for a “The Sound of a New Music” workshop or the “Woman Be Thou Empowered” conference, visit www.kathyburrell.com.