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Meet The Team

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Pastor Mel Jerome


Blessy Jerome

Mel is the Co-Founders of Next Generation Youth Church in Aurora, IL. Along with Blessy, they both have a passion to encourage the youth, to live with intentionality of God’s purpose and build their relationship with God.


It’s great joy in learning to embrace God’s wisdom and grace for every stage of life. Whether you are in place of life-passion, imparting to others, Mel and Blessy craving to share insight from God’s Word that will help you not just bear, but also to enjoy the journey.


Athena Appavu


Athena Appavu is the secretary for Next Generation Youth Church. Music and serving God are two of Athena’s greatest passions, as she grew up singing and playing violin in church. She is also a student at UIC where she studies neuroscience and takes great honor for the opportunity to serve the lord.


Savannah Martin

Worship Leader

Savannah was raised going to church and has always loved Jesus (fun fact Jesus was her first word). From a young age she loved music and worship, in high school she helped her brother lead worship at a church in Chicago. In 2017 Savannah attended a School of Worship with Youth with a Mission Australia and did missions work for 2 years Currently she teaches at Kindercare and loves volunteering on the weekend leading worship.


John Thompson Jr

Production Lead

My name is John Thompson Jr. I gave my life to the Lord at a very young age, and I've been heavily involved in the audio/visual side of church services for as long as I can remember. At Next Generation Youth Church, I've found a new and relevant niche to apply my gifts through live-streaming and real-time audio mixing. Outside of the church building, I'm studying at Purdue Northwest for Computer Engineering, and you can usually find me raving about new tech stuff or practicing the saxophone. I'm usually pretty quiet, but once the conversation gets rolling, I'm all in.

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Production Team

I am a young guy with big goals and a heart longing to draw closer to God each and everyday. I am currently a real estate agent who is passionate about helping people find the perfect home for the next phase of their lives. I work in the tech crew here at Next Generation Youth Church and absolutely love it! I really enjoy learning how to mix audio, and how to put together the weekly powerpoint presentations. I am very appreciative of John, as he has tough me everything I know! It’s truly a blessing to work beside him. I can’t wait to see how God uses the people of this church, pastor Mel, and also the next generation of people living in this amazing world!

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