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'This Is God's Business': How Hobby Lobby's Founder Gave Away Ownership of the Company

10-26-2022

Hobby Lobby has become a multi-billion dollar company and one of the most popular craft store chains in America, which makes its founder’s unique, biblical approach to business deeply compelling.

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Founder and CEO David Green, author of the new book, Leadership Not By the Book: 12 Unconventional Principles to Drive Incredible Results, recently told CBN’s Faithwire about his company’s history and why he has always opted to put God first in his business.

Green stressed the importance of looking to the Bible to glean inspiration for running Hobby Lobby — a process he has learned to increasingly lean on over the years.

“I think there’s not a better way,” he said. “I think [God] wants to bless us … so we want to do the very best we can to see His Word and see how to run our business.”

Hobby Lobby has become known over the years for giving away substantial portions of its profits, for fair wages, and for giving employees Sundays off to be with their families.

Despite the incredible ways Hobby Lobby is operated, Green said there was a process before he and others really learned how to make and keep God’s role front-and-center in the company.

“Probably the toughest lesson we’ve learned is the fact that we need to know that this is God’s business,” he said. “We had to learn that, when we gave it to Him, that we would see Him bless this business.”

Green added, “Most Christians say that God owns their business, but we really had to learn that for real.”

He pointed to Scripture to note how God “owns everything.” Once a person recognizes this reality, he said, it changes everything they do in life and business.

“We see ourselves as stewards, and that is a much, much better place to be,” Green said.

Perhaps one of the most captivating aspects of Hobby Lobby’s story is the company’s unlikely roots: Green and his wife, Barbara, started the company decades ago in their basement.

At the time, they were making miniature frames — and things just took off.

“We borrowed $600 and we started making these little frames in our basement, and that was in 1970,” Green said. “And we didn’t open our first store here in Oklahoma City until 1972.”

Now, Hobby Lobby is celebrating its 50th anniversary. And that initial, singular, 600-square-foot store has expanded to hundreds of locations as the company continues to grow.

But for Green, business isn’t what really matters. In the end, it’s the spiritual health of his family.

“The thing that I’m most excited about, and I think that’s most important in my life, is my children and my grandchildren, serving the Lord,” he said. “That is my biggest success.”

It should come as no surprise Green is sharing his experiences in an aptly titled book: “Leadership Not By the Book: 12 Unconventional Principles to Drive Incredible Results.”

He’s hoping people in business will glean important truths from his vast business experience.

“Probably the most important thing would be that business people see their business as belonging to God,” he said. Find out more about the book here.

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