We see this in the gospels, in the small teams Paul consistently gathered around himself, through church history, and I can testify to it in my own experience. When the river is flowing, small groups spring up, with twos and threes as thick as thieves. Lots of laughter; time spent relaxing; chewing issues over; opening up; the odd escapade and the occasional rubbing up the wrong way to add a little bit of saltiness. It’s dynamite.
How do you pursue this?
No formula, but here’s a recipe I’ve seen work more often than not over the past couple of decades. Go for someone in the same geographic area as you; instigate a weekly intentional activity, doesn’t matter particularly what, but something you’d want to be doing anyway – exercise, sport, or working through a course, or something more ‘spiritual’. Show up for a few months. Set your default to ‘trust’ in terms of communication. Let the extra bits that spring up round the weekly meet happen.
In a culture where men in particular are often poor at friendship, there’s an opportunity for disciples to both shine, and find themselves shone on. Well worth investing a tiny fraction of your week in.
Discipleship is not a lone pursuit.