I have the incredible privilege of talking with Steve Green, President of Hobby Lobby on the blog today. Hobby Lobby is the largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer in the world, with nearly 750 stores, and 32,000 employees. In addition, Steve Green is the visionary behind a project I have been really excited about, Museum of the Bible. Museum of the Bible is the largest Museum in the world under construction today, and sits just 3 blocks south of the US Capitol. It will invite all people to engage with the history, narrative and impact of the Bible. It opens this fall of 2017. Aside from all of this, Steve's family is renown for their love for the Lord, and their incredible hearts for the kingdom. I'm thrilled to share his thoughts with you today...
Tell me the story of your family’s journey with Hobby Lobby.
In 1970, my dad and mom took out a $600 loan to begin making miniature picture frames out of our home. Two years later the first Hobby Lobby store opened in a 300 square-foot space where they sold those picture frames. I got started in the family business by gluing together those miniature pictures frames when I was seven years old. Then I worked in the retail store through high school. Once I graduated, I went to work full-time in the business. Over the years, my title has changed, but I still just work for dad.
Your family is marked by extreme generosity. What set this in motion?
My grandmother, Marie Green, was a giver. She lived out generosity in every area of life, and she taught her kids to give. Marie was constantly reminding her children of the C.T. Studd poem, “Only one life will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Marie not only taught her children generosity–she lived it out. She would give even when she didn’t have much. She gave joyfully and had a love for investing in eternal things. This value was passed on to her kids. My dad, David Green, saw gospel-generosity modeled, and it still affects how he makes decisions today. At Hobby Lobby, we began company giving early on in our history. One example is when Dad felt God prompting him to give a specific amount of money to a particular mission organization. Dad thought the amount was more than he could manage. So, he divided the amount into four checks and post-dated them so that they wouldn’t all come due at once. When the missions organization received the checks, they said it was the exact amount they had prayed for–and they had prayed for it on the very day the checks had been mailed. From that experience and the ongoing joy that came from giving, our family has continued to accelerate our giving. Today we give half of our company’s profits. Dad talks about building this legacy, and this journey of generosity in his new book Giving It All Away which comes out April 25.
One of the projects on the forefront is Museum of the Bible. Tell us about this, how it started and the journey you’ve been on with it? What do you hope people who visit will experience?
We got started on this journey when we were asked to buy a building for a proposed museum. At the time, we didn’t get involved, but a few years later we ended up starting our own collection of Biblical artifacts. We wanted to be able to share this great collection with the world. Museum of the Bible began as a non-profit in 2010. We sent traveling exhibits all over the country and the world while we looked for a permanent home. In 2012, we found that permanent home in Washington, D.C. We purchased a building, and it is under renovation and construction today–set to open in November 2017. Washington D.C. is the museum capital of the world. Museum of the Bible is two blocks south of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and is just a twelve-minute walk from the U.S. Capitol. It is the largest museum under construction in the world, and we believe it will be the most technologically advanced as well. Biblical literacy is declining, and we want to see the Bible come back to the conversation. My desire is that through the Museum, people will learn something they didn’t know, and be inspired to engage in this remarkable book.
Your life is marked by a significant passion for God’s Word. Tell us why you believE so strongly in the power of the Bible?
I believe the Bible is exactly what it claims to be–God’s Word that guides our everyday life. If we follow its principles, we will have the most fulfilled life. And it was through God’s Word that I found Jesus.
You’ve written a book, The Bible In America, about how the Bible has deeply impacted American history. Share some of what you’ve seen and why this matters.
The Bible was the most influential book for the founders of our nation. They had a biblical worldview. Our nation is built on principles found in the Bible, and as a result, it has undergirded one of the most successful nations on earth. We haven’t done everything perfectly, but this country is a great example of how the principles of this book can serve a nation well, as well as individuals. Through my book, I want to point out the significant impact the Bible has had on our country so we can better understand and appreciate the substantial impact God’s Word has made in our lives.
Last question. What is your favorite Bible verse?
Psalm 1, because this passage reiterates the call to meditate on God’s Word.