I am excited to announce that Dr. David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby Creative Centers, has accepted our invitation to the Society of World Changers as our 2013 inductee.
David Green is a business leader, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, an author, a patron of scholarship and culture—but above everything else, he is a servant of Christ like any one of us, a saved sinner dependent upon the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He attributes any success he has had to his trust in God, and acknowledges that God has used that success as a platform to minister to the world. IWU recognized David Green and his achievements previously through the conferral of an honorary doctorate in 1999.
Here are some of the qualities we noticed about David Green:
- God has given him the chance to set an example for the retail industry in generosity toward his employees. He sets minimum wage for both full- and part-time employees at far above the legal standard ($13 and $9 per hour, respectively). David Green also demonstrates caring for his employees by limiting the store to 66 hours per week and closing down completely on Sunday.
- God has used Dr. Green’s interest in ancient history and the roots of the Bible to give a gift to scholars from around the world: The Green Collection, which CNN calls “one of the world’s largest private collection[s] of biblical texts and artifacts.” The collection has also become a great public service through the traveling exhibit Passages, giving many people the unprecedented chance to come into closer touch with our spiritual heritage. I’m additionally grateful and excited for our community that Dr. Green has arranged to have a sizable portion of the Green Collection on display at IWU April 3, 4 and 5.
- People know that he is a Christian. Forbes magazine, when writing about him for their 2006 list of the world’s richest people, said that David Green “lives to spread the Word.” God has granted him the means to translate that commitment into action. Hobby Lobby is a benefactor for a number of ministry organizations, from Bible translators to boarding schools. In 2010, David Green signed Warren Buffett’s “Giving Pledge,” an agreement among many of the world’s richest people to give away more than half of their fortune before they die.
The selection process for David Green reflected a number of changes we’ve made this past year. For instance, representatives from the Student Government Association, including 2012 Student Body President Jenna Childress and 2013 President Aaron Augello, were personally involved in the selection process this year. We had a number of very compelling candidates, and this summer when we came to a final decision, President Augello cast his vote as a member of the committee.
We hope you give thanks for David Green’s ministry as enthusiastically as we do. But even as we honor God for what he has done in Dr. Green’s life, we hope you will not fall into the trap of honoring him merely for his wealth and success. As Christ warns us in the Gospels, prosperity in a fallen world can be more of an obstacle to faith than a benefit.
We thank God for David Green’s example precisely for that reason: because he sees his wealth as God’s possession rather than allowing himself to be possessed by it; because he judges himself by the standards of heaven and not of earth; and because he recognizes that his own efforts are in vain unless he trusts and depends upon the Holy Spirit.
If you can think of any individuals whom you would like us to consider for future convocations, I urge you to submit them to the committee through my Chief of Staff, Dr. Larry Lindsay, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you can attend the convocation for Dr. David Green at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3, in the IWU Chapel-Auditorium. You will be blessed.
Dr. Henry Smith
President, Indiana Wesleyan University