An emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication. They can be found on any cellphone keyboard, on any brand of phone. Lauren Clayborne and Ashley Green met at Michigan State University through the school’s gospel choir in 2003 and wanted to convey a different type of emotion through emojis. Something that was not being offered on normal keyboards. So they came up with Christian Emojis.
“Ashley is the one that actually brought it to the table,” said Clayborne. “Obviously, we are both very involved in ministry, and just the idea of being able to put something in emoji form to kind of support the expression that we already talk about daily, was a great idea to us.”
“I believed the idea came from God,” Green said. “I had the vision of sharing God’s word and my spiritual inspiration through Christian Emojis. I’m a huge texter and I noticed there were so many emojis representing emotions and actions but not many representing Jesus and Christianity. I knew I wanted to do the idea and I knew I needed a strong business partner, and Lauren was the first to come to mind because of her strength and her faith.”
Christian Emoji was launched in July 2017 and features 89 emojis, ranging from clergymen and clergywomen in a robe, to worshipers lifting their hands in prayer, praise and mime dancing, and even bread and wine for communion. Clayborne and Green thought of the idea in March and within a few months, their new business venture was off the ground.
“We kind of brainstormed the various emojis that we wanted to convey,” said Green, who attends Ebenezer Ministries in Flint. “We got an artist to draft and make those images for us, then we had to hire an app developer, and they work behind the scenes on the technology piece, developing the product and adding it to the app store.”
Business has been great for Christian Emojis. Their business filled a particular void and with technology playing a large part in people’s everyday life, there was no way it could fail. Christian Emojis is common terminology that people of God can use on an everyday basis. It is only 99 cents and can only be used by Apple products for now but the company does plan to expand to Android products in the near future, as well as add more emoji options.
“I think people were absolutely blown away by this,” said Clayborne, who attends NorthRidge Church and graduated from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. “I wouldn’t say that this was an absolute genius idea, because there are so many apps out there, but it is a unique idea that there is an app dedicated completely to Christianity. The reaction has been nothing but positive and the fact that we did very little promotion and advertising, makes it even better because people have been making purchases all over the world.”