Love Styles – Worship Edition: Ludus

Some love styles are nearly impossible to view positively. I’m challenging myself to come up with as many pros as cons for this one, because Ludus is a love style that is based on game playing. It’s so difficult, in fact, most articles that discuss Ludic personalities don’t even mention that there might be the possibility for long-term affection. I think I’m up to that challenge, especially because I believe that no personality type or inclination is excluded from the ability to worship, but we might have to overcome the challenges associated with that personality.

Ludus = Game

Ludus comes to us from ancient Rome. Ludus has several meanings, which include play, games, sports or training. Ludus was a board game of sorts that was played with bones, something like chess. There was a strategy involved, and smart playing won the day. Other ludi include military strategy games, like Stratego. Man, I love Stratego. Someone should buy me that. Or Risk. I love Risk. So, that’s where Ludus gets it rep: games and game playing. That’s the bad part.


* Ludus lovers (plural, ludi) think of love as a game. In worship, I believe that looks like goofing off. Ludi mess around and don’t take worship seriously. It’s not entering into the presence of God, it’s sucking helium out of the balloons and singing a solemn hymn. Ludi don’t typically put too much stock in their relationships, and that would extend to relationships with the divine, at worst.

* Ludic worshippers are seeking entertainment. They like the beginning of things, but once the relationship settles in for the long-haul, they are mentally preparing their escape. They get a high off juggling multiple tasks or relationships at once. Ludi stray… often, and usually feel no qualms about it. You can recognize the ludic worshipper because they are singing, checking Facebook, sending meaningful glances to their friends, giggling, messing around and already planning where to go to lunch during the one-hour worship time.

*As I said earlier, most psychologists who study personalities as regards love agree that ludi aren’t fit to commit. I am not nearly as pessimistic, because I want to focus on the positive aspects of ludus.


* Training – in ancient Rome, ludus was the name for schools, both for elementary-aged children and gladiators. If we see worship as training, a preparation for heaven, then ludus can be a positive thing. Remember when I said that ludi love the beginnings of things? When ludus is viewed in the context of preparation, or a prelude, the emphasis shifts from one of game-playing to creating a strong foundation right off the bat. If your entrance hymn is weak, if the opening prayer is half-hearted, no one should be surprised when people are falling asleep mid-sermon. It’s a well-known communication principle that we are influenced by primacy — what comes first.

* In addition to being a prepatory school, ludus is creative. Ludi are always looking for the next big thing. They have their eye on entertainment and excitement. Try putting a ludus in charge of a new program at your church and see how far outside the box they can get. We’re planning on starting a committee at church to look at possible facility expansion, and while we want some pragmatic people on that committee, we’re also looking for those who aren’t going to be fettered by the way it’s always been done. We need a couple of dreamers, we need someone who’s looking ahead, we need ludic contribution.

*As with any of these love/worship styles, just because we default to or fall into a category doesn’t mean we can’t refocus that characteristic. I love that I heard a worship leader change the words to “Sweet Home, Alabama” into “Sweet Home, Greens Bayou” for the meet-and-greet portion of the service. Sure, it was jokey and silly, but it made people smile and got them out of the sharing-the-peace rut.

If you’re a ludic worshipper, how do you overcome your tendency to stop paying attention? What are other ways we see ludus at play in worship?


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