Hobby Lobby CEO Reaps the Benefits of Generosity

David is the founder and CEO of retail craft giant, Hobby Lobby.  He came from a family of preachers and says his upbringing played a major part in his decision to run his company based on biblical principles. David’s commitment to sharing his faith through his business can be seen in various ways. He spends thousands each year to share the Gospel through advertisements in newspapers during the Christmas and Easter holidays. He also plays Christian music in his stores, and remains closed on Sundays to allow his employees to spend time with their families and the Lord. One thing he does that is of utmost importance is he pays his employees well. In 2009, when the economy was unstable and many businesses were cutting wages, Hobby Lobby paid its employees well over minimum wage. Salaries increased over the next several years and have remained competitive ever since.

The business started from very humble beginnings. In 1970 David took a $600 loan. He and his family began assembling and selling miniature picture frames from his garage. Within two years, they were able to open their own 300 square-foot store.  The company has grown exponentially since then. Today, Hobby Lobby has over 700 stores and has reached $4 billion in revenues. David has taken the same salary for the past 11 years, and under his direction, Hobby Lobby gives away roughly 50% of its pre-tax earnings to evangelical ministries.  

Hobby Lobby company won a 2014 Supreme Court case that exempted "closely held" companies with strong religious beliefs from an Affordable Care Act provision that mandates access to the morning-after pill. The win was a big victory for faith-based companies who are also fighting for religious freedom.

David says one of the keys to his success is giving. He has learned to “steward his resources with a heavenly mindset.” In fact, he says that while his family was called to ministry from the pulpit, he was specifically called to retail. He says God gives him resources through his business and trusts him to give to people, countries, communities, and organizations in need. 

Although everyone doesn’t have a business, David demonstrates how everyone can give. There were many times when God directed him to give far more than he had.   He once sensed God telling him to give $30,000 to an overseas ministry. But Hobby Lobby only had 4 stores at that point, and did not have $30,000 extra.  Yet because he wanted to obey God, he found a way to give. He post-dated four $7,500 checks and mailed them to the ministry. As it turns out, the ministry was praying for that exact amount of money on the very day David postmarked the checks. After taking the step of faith, the Lord covered the Hobby Lobby checks. “My journey into generosity has shown me two important things, among others,” he said. “First, generosity has a starting point. You don’t just wake up one day and poof, you’re generous. It begins with a decision to steward your resources with a heavenly mindset. Second, generosity depends not on how much money we have but the posture of our hearts.”                         

David says it is important not to wait until God tells us to give. We should be proactive and strategic about giving. First, he says you should develop criteria to give to organizations based on your personal mission. Organizations that lead people to Christ take high priority on David’s “giving list” because his personal mission is for people to accept Jesus. Second, he says you should set your giving amount. Create a goal amount to give above the 10% tithe. TIthing is like training wheels. Write it down, and do it. Finally, he says to set a fire for the future. Make a commitment to keep giving, and teach the next generation to do so as well.

One of the most important things to David is to leave a lasting legacy. He does this in many ways. He set an example to his children by showing them the virtues of giving.  David also believes that his sons and daughter will be better managers of money if they earned it. He required his children to have jobs while growing up, even though he could afford to provide for them.  His children even bought their own first cars. When children and grandchildren want to work at Hobby Lobby, they aren’t automatically given the job. They must apply, along with everyone else.  In this way, David makes sure his children know how to manage wealth.  They know that the core of handling wealth is understanding that it comes from God.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Author, Latest: Giving it Away and Getting it All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously (Zondervan, 2017)

Founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby craft retail store

Philanthropist, David commits half of Hobby Lobby's total pretax earnings to a portfolio of evangelical ministries and as of 2012, he has donated an estimated $500 million

Wife, Barbara

Three children

One son, Mart Green, is the founder of Mardel Christian and Educational Supply and of Every Tribe Entertainment while his other son, Steve Green, is President of Hobby Lobby

His daughter, Darsee Lett, is Creative Director for the Hobby Lobby stores


Right-click on a link below and choose "Save link as..." to save the file

High Definition - MP4
High Quality - MP4
Low Bandwidth - MP4
Give Now