I’ve suggested that affinity is not the same thing as community, that community is harder to build, and that therefore community is a better goal for youth ministry (indeed, for all ministry).
But there’s a theological dog not barking in those assertions. Church life holds forth an invitation to something greater than both community and affinity: communion.
Communion is unity that can’t be manufactured or organized or planned, because it’s a work of the Spirit. Liturgically, it happens around the table where one bread, one body, one cup are shared. But it’s happening in non-liturgical ways as well, as God knits men, women, and children together who have no business with one another–politically, culturally, racially, or economically.
We can build community. Only God can build communion.
But maybe by tending to the conditions that make for strong community we co-build communion with God.