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During a storm ,vaporized waterdrops  rise and become ice.Then ice-particles fall and get electrons from rising water via thermoelectric effect.While the cloud top becomes positive, the bottom becomes negative.When the negative charge can  overcome air resistance, a flow of negative charge rushes toward the earth.  The positive charges of the Earth are attracted to this stepped leader using the shortest path i.e. through some elevated point.The motion of positive charges of this return stroke makes air particles glow like a fillament .Since the  the heated air has no time to expand, the compressed air explodes outward. A positive charge may  build around a person if he is on high ground, or in an open space, or near a pond, large metallic structures or trees. Mobile phones do not attract lightning strikes.
The invisible attracting/repelling fields which surround electrified objects are the same force-fields normally only found inside of atoms.
Thermoelectric effect is the tendency for electrons, loosely held by molecules, to migrate toward warmer regions of the ice.
A magnet or a charged object  attracts movable opposite charges and repels the likes of a neutral object.

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