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Colson Center Presents 2024 Wilberforce Award to Hobby Lobby Founders David and Barbara Green

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Every year, the Colson Center presents the William Wilberforce Award to a Christian leader who has made a lasting difference in their sphere of influence, demonstrating similar principled courage as British abolitionist William Wilberforce. At this year’s Colson Center National Conference, Hobby Lobby founders David and Barbara Green will be awarded the 2024 Wilberforce Award. The Greens have exemplified a Christlike faithfulness, courage, and generosity that will leave a legacy for generations to come.

The Greens grew up in Oklahoma. David credits his parents with passing on a serious faith to him and his siblings:

We grew up in a home where you had a mother and father that really lived out their faith, and that was so exciting for us kids to see someone that not only taught it, but also lived a life of faith.

In the 1960s, David Green got a job at a local “five-and-dime” store. It was there that he realized he wanted to work in retail. It was also there that he met Barbara. David and Barbara Green founded Hobby Lobby in 1970, opening its first brick-and-mortar store by 1972. Since then, Hobby Lobby has grown to over 1,000 stores, success that the Greens attribute to God’s favor and blessing. 

For the Greens, it’s never been about money but about honoring God and being generous with the blessings they have received. In particular, they hope to leave a legacy that will bless generations to come. As David shared:

I thank God for my upbringing and my heritage because I knew money was not wealth. I never thought that, and I never sought to be wealthy so much as just to work for myself and be successful at retail. Because of my upbringing, I knew wealth had to do with our relationship with the Lord, having a great marriage, having a family that served God. So to me, wealth was just having a great legacy and not so much that we create a great value in our family of dollars and cents.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Health and Human Services famously attempted to force employers to cover abortifacients. Facing crippling fines, the Greens instead sought to honor God. As David Green explained,

One of the things that I feel like that I have learned is, if we want God’s blessing, then we have to do things [that are] going to cost us. I can name you at least 10 different things, and I may name you a couple [or] three, that cost us money. Almost everything, when you take a stand, costs. And you have to be willing to take that cost.

Through their faithfulness, they witnessed God’s provision:

I would say that the most important thing I think in our lives is just not to compromise. There’s a lot of reasons and pressure on us to compromise. And I think, it’s when we don’t compromise it, when I just see God blesses us.

In their courageous stands for God, their consistent witness for Jesus Christ, their generosity, and in projects like the Museum of the Bible, the Greens hope to point others to God, leave a legacy for future generations, and impact the world for the better.

God took me on a wild trip that landed me where I am today, in the land of seen things—my company, Hobby Lobby. But God has taught me that with great wealth and power comes great obligation to the next generation.

The Colson Center thanks God for the faithfulness of David and Barbara Green. Please join us as we honor them during this year’s Colson Center National Conference, May 30–June 2 in Arlington, Texas.

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Jared Hayden. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org.

Image credit: ©Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.


BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.


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