Hobby Lobby Founders Plan Bible Museum

Hobby Lobby- FeatureFaithful. Humble. Grateful. Obedient. Serving. These are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind after spending a weekend at the Christian Mastermind Summit at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, hosted by David Green and his lovely wife of 55 years, Barbara Green.

David Green has closely followed Biblical principles over the years. In 1972, the founder and CEO of the arts and crafts chain, Hobby Lobby, started the business with just $600.

From the company’s humble beginnings in an Oklahoma City living room, Green, age 71, now oversees close to 20,000 employees and over 500 stores in 39 states. He was number 136 on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans in 2010, with a net worth of just over $2.5 billion.


Hobby’s ministry

The journey to that amount was draining at times, involving battles with pride and debt. But a humble and grateful Green emerged from the trials, giving all the credit to God.

“God has just blown us off the map, and we know that we give God the glory,” said Green, sitting with Mastermind co-host, Mitch Huhem and fighting back the emotions. “There are so many decisions that we have to make that we just can’t make without God, the Holy Spirit, guiding us. And it has been very important for us, our family, to lean on the Holy Spirit.”


Real giving

Green built his business on Biblical principles.

“We try to do as much as we can, especially as we have rid ourselves of any debt,” Green explained. “We’ve always tithed. That’s something that we always have been taught, but we’ve also been taught that that’s not giving. Giving is above what we owe God, and that is our tithes.”

More profits mean more funds to give away. Green and his family have given millions to Christian causes and education. Their generous donations have benefited Liberty University in Virginia, rescued Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma and will enable C.S. Lewis College to open in Massachusetts.


Bible museum set for Washington D.C.

Green’s latest charitable endeavor involves purchasing Christian artifacts and ancient Bibles for a national Bible museum that is slated to open in Washington D.C. in 2017 on a piece of land purchased for $650 million just down the street from the National Mall and the White House.

David’s son, Steve Green is heading up the eight-story Bible museum he’s building in Washington. Plans for the $800 million project are coming together nicely: the ballroom modeled after Versailles, the Disney-quality holograms, the soaring digital entryway with religious images projected on the ceiling, the restaurant serving biblically-themed meals.

But one detail is bothering Green, and there’s nothing he can do about it. The building, he says, is not quite close enough to the National Mall. It’s just two blocks away, and from the roof it feels as though you can take a running leap onto the U.S. Capitol. Still, if it could just be a little closer. Green knows how much location matters.

Green knows plenty about sales. He is president of Hobby Lobby, the multibillion-dollar craft store chain his father founded. But he’s just now learning the power of holding Washington’s attention.

Last year, Hobby Lobby became a household name for non-scrapbooking reasons when the company took on the White House in a controversial Supreme Court case over whether employers had to include no-cost coverage of contraception to employees. The Supreme Court ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor in June, and among religious conservatives, in particular, the Pentecostal Greens were hailed as heroes.


Caring for employees

However, the CEO hasn’t forgotten those who help keep Hobby Lobby stores running and the customers happy. In 2010, the company raised the minimum wage for full-time employees to $11 per hour ¬ 52 percent above the federal minimum wage.

Green said raising wages is a way to reward employees for the company’s success.

Another way that Green takes care of his employees is by limiting the number of hours that the store stays open in the evenings. Monday through Saturday, it’s only open until 8 p.m. Hobby Lobby is also closed on Sundays to allow time for family and worship.

“It kind of frightened us when we knew God was speaking to us about closing on Sunday because it is per hour, the busiest day of the week. But we knew God wanted us to close,” Green said, adding that the move has not hurt the company’s bottom line. Chick Fil-A, another Christian-owned national company is also known for closing on Sundays.


Blessing in a tough economy

Green said there are no other companies the size of Hobby Lobby that are open only 66 hours a week. Yet, even in these tough economic times, the business is flourishing and they continue to open stores nationwide.

“So I know God is in this,” he said. “And He is blessing us, and I think just as important as our giving is our hearts and that we do have clean hands and a pure heart in our work. And this is what God would require of us.”


Sharing the Gospel

Green and his family are not just financial givers. They strive to help meet the spiritual needs of their employees as well. Five Hobby Lobby chaplains minister to workers.

Green said hundreds of employees have given their hearts to Jesus Christ, including more than a dozen managers this past year alone.

“We prayed a prayer with them, and we did have 15 managers come to know Christ in the business place,” he shared.

Sharing the Gospel, Green says, is the driving force behind his quest for success in the marketplace. In fact, that’s how he wants to be remembered.

“I would like to know that we have brought as many people to know Christ as we possibly can,” Green said. “We hope to continue to just grow our company. As long as there’s someone on this earth that doesn’t know Jesus Christ, we have a job to do.”

It was a real pleasure and privilege to meet David and Barbara as they truly ‘walk the walk’ and he continuously stated that Hobby Lobby was God’s company, and they continue to give 50 percent of all net profits annually back to the Kingdom.

They were instrumental in attracting over 50 Christian Kingdom builders together in Boca Raton to brainstorm about ways to fight the enemy in media, schools, film, social media, music and even the food industry and make it a life mission to get God back in our schools.

This couple was truly a shining light and display of God’s love and rewarding to those that are obedient to His word and commandments.


Carl Foster is the radio host/founder of “The Good Sports Magazine Show” as well as the Chief Operating Officer for the World LEADERS Group, hosts for the 2016 World LEADERS Conference.

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