In Memoriam: Longtime NRB Member, Milestone Recipient Russ Doughten

Russ DoughtenLongtime NRB member Russell S. “Russ” Doughten, Jr., who received the NRB Milestone Award in 2002, passed away Monday, August 19, at the age of 86.

The “Father of the Modern Christian movie,” Doughten was a pioneer in putting Christian movies on video. As a producer, director, writer, and actor, he was responsible for more than 150 projects that have touched hundreds of millions of people around the world and brought more than six million to Christ. His movie A Thief in the Night alone has been seen by more people than live in the United States. Doughten’s projects have also received dozens of awards.

In 1965, Doughten founded Heartland Productions, through which he produced and directed eight dramatic features that present the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1972, he began Mark IV Pictures with Donald W. Thompson. Together, these filmmakers produced 12 feature length, dramatic Christian movies over a 12-year period.

When Mark IV and Heartland ended in the mid-1990s, Doughten formed Russ Doughten Films, Inc., to carry on the successful tradition of film evangelism around the world. Doughten joined NRB as a member about a decade prior to the formation of Russ Doughten Films.

Doughten also established Mustard Seed International, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to spread the Gospel around the world through God-honoring films that clearly show the path to salvation through Jesus.

"Our Brother Russ was a beacon of clarity," remarked Dr. Randy Weiss, Founder and President of the CrossTalk International Ministry Alliance, which shines a TV spotlight on other “Christian soldiers in the trenches.”

"He pointed all to Christ and helped all of us in visual media understand the awesome responsibility we share to announce the Gospel in understandable ways," added Dr. Weiss, who is a member of the NRB Board of Directors and the NRB Television Standing Committee. "His contributions to the industry and to the NRB TV Committee, which he helped build, will endure as long as viewing devices remain a tool for evangelism."

Doughten is survived by his wife, Gertrude; 3 sons; 4 grandchildren; and 5 great grandchildren.

Services will be at the Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church in Carlisle, IA, at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 24, with burial to follow in the McFarlan Cemetery in What Cheer, IA. Prior to service time, a visitation and a light lunch will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Online condolences can be made at

Published: August 22, 2013