Founded in 2007 out of a church in Pasadena, CA, Deidox’s story is a long and windy rode of making media for the Kingdom. Its founders, Brent Gudgel & Dave Mahanes, had traveled the world for several years working with large ministries and filming people of great faith. But, they were getting hired to tell marketing stories where the goal was to build the ministries. During this time they were profoundly impacted by seeing how God was at work around the world, but they weren’t allowed to lean into the “God stories” they were discovering. So, in 2007 Deidox was founded as a way to focus on telling stories of how God was at work.
For the first 15 years, the Deidox filmmakers were bi-vocational, meaning they made films at Deidox as much as they were able, but it was in between other “tent making” projects. They had projects on Showtime, Hulu, and for the Olympics, among others. Traditionally, media production is incredible cost-prohibitive (expensive!), and since Deidox operated on a shoestring budget it remained a passion project the team wished they could do more. They prayed that if God ever wanted it to be full-time He would make it clear.
Their common refrain was the phrase, “be faithful with what we’ve been given.”
Over time, while staying bi-vocational, Deidox assembled a network of dozens of collaborators and produced 55 projects. Their short films were used by over 3,500 pastors during their sermons, in addition to being released online and at film festivals. Next came a 30-minute documentary, The Ordinance, about an inspiring partnership between Baptists & Catholics, leading to the passing of laws across the country to limit predatory payday lending. Then, after years of focus on “faithful steps” as a ministry, Deidox was blessed to bring their unique approach to the big screen with the acclaimed theatrical documentary Free Burma Rangers. It was a new type of Christian documentary, told in a new way, and the result was spectacular. After the film, the team of Deidox collaborators wished they could do more but their of faithfulness returned to their bi-vocational approach, until…
In the summer of 2022, Brent lost both of his outside gigs in the same day. Over the next six months all the things that traditionally work would suddenly get shut down at the last minute. In December, he and his wife finally admitted that God was funneling him to commit full-time with Deidox as the Executive Director. This was December of 2022, and there was enough money in the account for one month! But they felt it was what God wanted so they took the leap.
The goal was first to take prayerful and faithful steps, and then to start building Deidox out into a more fully functioning nonprofit organization, Brent and the board started praying through the vision, mission, and path forward. At the end of January, a day before payroll was scheduled to run, money unexpectedly showed up in the account. They took this as a miracle and encouragement to keep going. Then in February it happened again on the day before payroll. For six months they did not know how they would pay bills and then right before the end of the month the funding would somehow show up. And after six months, He provided enough for two months so that they could rest in the seventh month (July). It was incredible.
Throughout this year God has brought other volunteers on to pray and take steps forward with the team.
2023 has been a year of new foundation laying. It has been a time of wonderful stretching and God showing His wonderful faithfulness. Mid-year the team shifted the brand Deidox (God documentaries) ever-so-slightly to add a space in the middle, Dei Dox. God’s stories, for God’s glory. They also prayerfully developed five new proof-of-concepts for future projects and technology platforms to enable media to reach the ends of the earth.
It’s at this point that something should be made clear – the new vision is beautiful, but what it will become does not yet exist. As far as we know the world has never seen it. So, the team is doing their best to take faithful and open-handed steps, not forcing the future vision but trusting the Lord to lead into it.
Now they are praying for and looking for the people who feel similar about the need for media missionaries to create and send content into culture. Partners, collaborators, supporters – whoever God would call to this work if God wants it done.
In Brent’s words: “The new vision is big. Far bigger than we can or should strategize. So we give it all back to Him, we lay it all down, and we ask that He would call others to join if this is truly what He wants. And if He does… let’s go! For His glory.”