Affinity:A natural attraction, liking, or feeling of kinship; relationship by alliance.
For years, small groups have formed around affinities—retirees, young parents, empty nesters,singles, business professionals, sports groups, etc.
Whether it is age, vocation, family status, hobbies, or personal interests, affinities have proven to create the context that helps all types of groups form relationships and bond into a community. But is the end goal to get a small group to just bond?"
Consider Jesus' twelve disciples. When Jesus first called them, what was His purpose for this group? Was it to do Old Testament study and discover affinities they had with one another? To be sure, Jesus was a master teacher. Additionally, there were some affinity factors that helped them bond. They were all Jewish men, all from the region of Galilee (with the exception of possibly Judas Iscariot), but that's where most of the initial affinity stops. The group of first disciples had a great deal of variety in vocations, temperaments, political ideologies, and family status. Some of those differences would have certainly been a barrier to affinity. And indeed, scripture records more tension among the disciple group than affinity.
Scripture would lead us to believe that discovering affinity while doing a study was not Jesus purpose for this group. Jesus, in perhaps his most urgent prayer for His disciple group prayed this: "Now I am departing the world; I am leaving them behind and coming to you. Holy Father, keep them and care for them—all those you have given me—so that they will be united just as we are. … I have told them many things while I was with them so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. ...