Impact City Church part-time associate pastor Jaddeus Dempsey now says he "crossed the line" during a message to middle and high school students earlier this month. In a video shared to the Ohio church's Facebook earlier this week, Dempsey was joined by Impact City lead pastor Justin Ross for an apology video.
"Each Monday, we invite students to come across the street to a place where they can hang out with their friends and we provide activities for them, we feed them, and as part of that program, we also take five minutes to do a deposit of faith in the students," Ross explained.
Dempsey, who was giving the lesson at the time, "chose to use an illustration for crucifixion" that received a reaction with which they now both agree. Dempsey first told the students they could spit on him "without any repercussions," a challenge "several students" accepted. Then, Dempsey told the students they could slap, also without repercussions. "Several students" partook in the slapping. As his finale, Dempsey upped the stakes by telling the students they could cut him using a steak knife, again with zero consequences.
"One of the students cut him on his back," Ross confirmed. "Now, many of the students were taking videos of this and posting them on social media. The reactions are appropriate, that many of you were disgusted and many of you were hurt by this."
Ross then had Dempsey say a few words about his illustration of the crucifixion of “this guy named Jesus.” Dempsey apologized, taking responsibility for the incident and admitting its inappropriateness. "It was over the top and it was just not appropriate and it was in bad judgment," he said. "So, I am so sorry for misrepresenting the community, the church, the parents, the students. Anybody that I hurt."
Per a report from CNN, the church’s board is conducting a "formal review and investigation" of the incident.