When encountering them, we are left to wonder if they are putting on an act to get approval or get something from us. Within them there is an emptiness, a craving for new conquests, new stimulation, additional applauding audiences. Out of their hollowness, they deceive themselves and others, which leads to disaster in the churches where they "serve." Boredom is their constant, sad motivator. Superficial, broken relationships lie in their wake.
These people creep into the church because congregations want gregarious, charming, outgoing pastors, worship leaders, youth leaders, etc. The modern church is replete with "religious shows" with seductive clothing, music, bodily movement, and overdramatized religiosity. Religious expressions of love, intimacy, caring, fellowship and personal sharing and testimony can easily become eroticized and promiscuous in the hands of the histrionic Christian. Their presence result in churches that are incestuous, abusive and enmeshed.
What can the church do to prevent them from coming to power in the church?
When interviewing people for leadership positions within the church, there needs to be careful expectation of a person who forms relationships responsibly, makes promises carefully based upon plenty of information, and is able to stick with people thru longer, less superficial relationships. One needs to consider the ability to have life-long relationships.
How can the church help them change their image?
In dealing with the histrionic Christian, underneath the show is an inner emptiness. This is the end result of life without commitment. Instead of relating to people as Christ would, they see people as commodities to be pushed around for the purposes of getting more limelight and attention.
They need to be held accountable for their behavior. They need to deepen their commitment to God and then, using that as a guideline, decide who they really are and what they need to be under God's direction. They need to reshape their whole interpretation of life. The objective is to challenge their spiritual emptiness and self-love. They need to develop fidelity to a steadfast relationship to God in Jesus Christ and fidelity to those in the church and in the marketplace.
They need to be challenged to open up the gates of a new life of depth rather than superficiality, durability rather than transiency. We can represent Christ to them. We can refuse to be seduced by flashiness. We can challenge and confront their restless boredom. We can refuse to be used and make durable and steadfast relationships so that we don't respond to their endless drama and emergency. We can help them develop character and maturity and help them form and maintain deep and lasting relationships.
Many thanks to the deceased Dr. Oates from whom much of this information is taken. His seminal work Behind the Masks should be read by those in positions of leadership in the church.
BE A MAN.