I’m sure all of you have had instances of people mistaking you for someone other than who you really are. How do you deal with it? Do you go along to get along? Do you immediately correct the person? Or does your reaction depend on the circumstances?
The first Christmas after I became Senior Pastor I was in the narthex greeting attendees of the Christmas program. When an unfamiliar face arrived, I made sure to go over to greet the person. I went over to greet one such person and asked if she was a visitor. She stated that she was a regular attendee of the church, but not a member.
To demonstrate that she was a regular attendee, she said, “You are Deacon Brown’s wife, aren’t you?”
“No, I am Rev. Dr. Grace Alexander, pastor of the church,” I stated.
Her mouth immediately flew open. She was caught. She was definitely not a regular attendee or she would have known that I had been pastor for the past 6 months.
I could not have said anything. I could have let her be surprised when I gave my opening remarks at the beginning of the program. But I couldn’t let a mistaken identity pass without addressing it.
I could have wondered if I corrected her, would she come back to the church. But that should never be a concern.
Know who you are and state who you are! Never let a mistaken identity stand, not even for a few minutes.
I am reminded of a friend who allowed a mistaken identity to stand. She was pastor of a church. However, the man she was dating lived in the same state but in another city. He believed that women should not be pastors. He was very involved in his church and attended every Sunday. She never told him that she was a minister, and certainly not a pastor.
Soon there was talk of marriage. Only then did she invite him to an afternoon program at her church. However, she never told him that she was pastor. He did not discover it until he walked into the program and saw her preaching.
He immediately ended the relationship.
Many months of their lives were wasted because a mistaken identity was allowed to stand.
So, women in the pulpit, be secure in who you are. And never let a mistaken identity stand.
This holiday season take a break and read about my challenges in Woman In The Pulpit