Most of the New Testament, after the Gospels, was written about the church life of the first several generations of Christians. What prompted them to come together? Roman cities offered many hundreds of clubs and mystery cults to join, not unlike American cities today. Easiest to understand are the Jews already accustomed to synagogue life who accepted Jesus as the Messiah and moved on to a Christian house church (Acts 18: 7). They acted on conviction.
But Luke tells us there were many non-Jewish God-fearers, too. What motivated them? They probably had the same kind of mixed motives found among church-goers today. Most gathered out of conviction. Others were probably neighbors who liked the fellowship. A few knew they could get a meal. Others sought the protection of the influential leader and enjoyed the status that went with this patronage.
We do know that in the earliest years they regularly shared a meal, during which they usually also remembered the Lord’s last supper. We know they were expected to help each other out because Paul scolded the Corinthians for not taking care of the hungry in their midst.
I am offering these descriptions to illustrate motives within the categories of classic motivational psychology.Read More