I am not a clinical psychologist, but I am still convinced that everyone is born with a desire for attention. We want people to connect with us so that we can feel important and have a sense of belonging. We want people to notice and care about us.
The best way to receive this attention is in a positive manner. Be the best you can be at something and people will notice you. This can range from singing to art to athletics to even being smart.
If we are not getting the attention we desire in a positive way, then we resort to negative attention. People will do some destructive behavior in an effort to get people to notice them. This can range from a child throwing a tantrum to a teenager who gets into trouble at school.
What happens when these children who grow up seeking attention in a negative way become adults? More importantly for me, what happens when these adults come to Church?
Here are some of the ways I have noticed people seeking attention from the Church –
1. Something is Always Wrong.
They are always complaining about something. The music is too loud, or the preacher is too quiet. The seats are too soft or too hard. They just never seem to be happy. When you see them coming toward you, you brace yourself for their next complaint. They feed off the attention they receive from everyone trying to make them happy.
2. There is Always Drama.
This person is the king or queen of prayer request time. They are always hurting or sick or struggling to make it somehow. If it is not them, then it is someone in their family or close circle of friends. They are driven to get attention from people asking how they are doing. They always have a difficult tale that generates sympathy.
3. Things Must Be Done Their Way.
They come to Church and want to be in charge. They are usually convinced they have the gift of leadership. They want everyone to listen to them as the voice of wisdom. They strive to get the attention of the weakest members of the group because it makes them feel important. Often their influence also comes from a position of power or financial success.
4. Everything Cries for Attention.
Through the years, I have been interested in who raises their hand during worship. I notice who wants to be on stage or up front all the time. I see who always wants to be the greeter every week. No matter what the situation they seem to be able to turn the spotlight toward themselves. They feed on being seen by people in a positive way.
Have you seen these people in Church? They have been present in every setting in which I have ever pastored. As a fellow believer, I try to show them love and concern without going overboard. Quite often these people use up all their attention-grabbing tricks and then move on to another congregation. They especially love smaller churches where they can get attention in large quantity from a small group.
So the next time you encounter something at Church, ask yourself, “Is this person merely trying to get attention?” All of us have our flaws, believe me, ALL of us do. This is just another one of them that I hear very few people talk about. I want to be a part of a group of individuals where positive attention is given for the building up of all believers.