THERE'S a distinct change of beat in church music moving across the south-west as the stereotypical hymns and pipe organs are replaced by amplified instruments, vigorous drumming and upbeat popular songs in some congregations.
It's a trend across the Western world where modernists reach out to engage younger generations in church life while some traditionalists liken it to pop culture.
In a clear indication of the appeal of contemporary music styles about 200 youth from various south-west church groups danced and rocked through an upbeat program at Warrnambool's Gateway Church earlier this month.
The nine-member band silhouetted through stage smoke pumped out sets of popular Christian gospel songs for the annual Youth Alive Groundswell Festival.
Gateway Church senior pastor Brent Johnson said similar events happened around the country at different times of the year.
"The young people who attended the Warrnambool event enjoyed some hilarious crowd games, dynamic music and great talk from Youth Alive's regional director, Pastor Lee Eden.
"It was a fantastic time of seeing youth groups around our region together to bring positive change to young people's lives."