Kym Klass
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June 3, 2024

The mission of The Shepherd’s Staff is to bring light and hope through the truth of Jesus Christ to the broken – especially those in the ranks of the fatherless and the forgotten.

It is a ministry that helps through prayer, discipleship, and necessary resources to strengthen families and individuals. The concept for this ministry began in Virginia, where Linnie and Debbie Dickson say their home was a magnet for those in need of hope and a new direction.

The two moved to Alabama on a two-year commitment in 1985, when they began working to provide a loving family for 10 young men. That number grew to well over 100, and created an intense enthusiasm for helping struggling families.

It became a lifetime labor of family building and restoration, and the Dicksons never left.

Today, the ministry serves through hands-on assistance and volunteer networking, as a resource link, partners with numerous service agencies, and utilizes a dedicated group of servant/volunteers. Whether equipping foster/adoptive families, furnishing a tutor to improve a third grader’s reading scores, sharing Biblical truths with the elderly, or transporting an addict to rehab, the message of The Shepherd’s Staff is the same: Jesus offers life, fulfilled and eternal.


1. Why is this ministry important? The ministry concept is needed to bring the foundational truth of the gospel to God’s first institution: the family. God gave the human race three institutions to help us function properly – the family, the government, and the Church. The necessary cornerstone to keep the other two healthy is a godly family. As it has been said for many years: as the man goes, so goes the family; as the family goes, so goes the church; as the church goes, so goes the nation. America declines as our families weaken. The opposite is also true, that is why The Shepherd’s Staff and ministries focused on the message of Jesus Christ are more needed than ever.

2. You responded to God’s call of “follow me.” What led to opening your home in Virginia and how did people begin coming there? After my miraculous transformation to Jesus, (Linnie) was ecstatic. He took my extremism for the devil and his kingdom and ushered me into the kingdom of His dear Son. It was simple. We wanted to share this true euphoria – of forgiveness, fulfillment, and purpose – to anyone and everyone in need. Especially the broken, lonely, down and out, and those who lived as outlandishly as I had. The rejection and avoidance of the general public just intensified as well as justified our push for rebellion and the false euphoria of the sex, drug, and rock and roll explosion in the sixties – of which I helped propagate from 1966 to 1979. The fact is that God used a precious lady…in a life-giving relationship with Jesus. The compassion, time, and dignity she gave me as a human being was impossible to reject. It was John 4, (the) ‘woman at the well experience,’ that Deb and I set our sights on replicating.

At first, we began keeping rebellious teens, then abused women/women and children. These were people in need that someone needed to help, so we did.

3. Why is this ministry important to the community? The importance to the community can easily be understood by just watching the news. The family breakdown, the last two or three generations of fatherlessness, is vividly on display. With over 55% of white families and over 75% of black families without functional dads in the home, we’re in a desperate slide to our demise as a country. Fatherlessness is one of God’s first judgments on a nation. We are experiencing the results of choosing a Romans 1:18-21 lifestyle.

4. How does The Shepherd’s Staff minister to those it serves? We minister to those we serve by connecting every met need to Jesus. He is our reason for taking the next step and the only hope for us or those we serve. Through the generosity of His people, he provides so we can share the provisions. Sharing the Word, while sharing a meal, setting up a house with furniture, offering a way out of addiction, or simply listening to the journey of a broken life gives tangible hope.

5. How many volunteers help oversee the ministry? The number of volunteers varies according to the project. We have a group of faithful volunteers we can call at a moment’s notice to set up an apartment, drop off a bag of groceries, or join a family or an individual in need of immediate intervention. Relationships formed between client and volunteer for a specific need usually morph into a therapeutic relationship. Our volunteers have often said the effort benefitted them as much as the people they served. It’s a win-win.

6. We know this ministry has the potential to change many lives – how does it change yours? God gave (Linnie) the verse Philippians 3:10 when I was a student at Liberty University. I really liked the first part of that verse. It says, “That I may KNOW HIM and the power of His resurrection,” and I had run into that transformative power in April of 1979. However, as we took up the cross to follow Him, Jesus was incrementally allowing us to live the rest of the verse which talks about “the fellowship of his suffering being made like unto his death.” The hard part of the ministry, the rejection, realizing that your all is not enough, the betrayals, the disappointments, the setbacks, and the losses are tough, but they are NOTHING compared to what Jesus did for us. The desperation of the “tough” parts is what pointed us to the fact that it is all HIS. The good, the bad, and the ugly…all belongs to Jesus. It is only His power and grace that allows us to offer hope to the next person. It is His love and compassion in our hearts that motivates us to even care. He gets the glory. We get to experience and share God’s undeserved, indescribable grace. We have the blessed privilege of being His children and His servants.

For more information or to volunteer: or call: (334) 313-1991.

Kym Klass is a contributing writer and Communications Director of the Media Ministry at Frazer Church in Montgomery.

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Kym Klass
Kym Klass has lived in the River Region since 2007. She is the Director of Communications at Frazer Church. She is the author of "One More Day: a powerful true story of suicide, loss and a woman's newfound faith." She serves on the board of directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (Alabama), the Samaritan Counseling Center, and the Alabama Coalition Against Rape.

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