A pastor has apologised for taking a lesson about Easter "too far" after footage of the bizarre exercise was posted to social media.
A US church has been forced to apologise after disturbing footage surfaced of a pastor encouraging children to spit in his face and slice his back with a steak knife in a bizarre lesson about Easter.
The footage, posted on social media on Monday, shows children at Impact City Church in Pataskala, Ohio, walking up to pastor Jaddeus Dempsey and attacking him as others watch, laughing and yelling.
At one point, the pastor removes his shirt and hands a child a steak knife, encouraging them to slice him across the back.
"Make me bleed," Mr Dempsey can be heard saying in the video.
The actions took place during an after-school "hangout program".
In a video apology posted to the church's Facebook page, lead pastor Justin Ross explained the exercise was an attempt to illustrate Jesus' suffering during Easter, but added that it "went too far".
"The reactions [to the video], are appropriate. That many of you are disgusted, that many of you were hurt by this, many of you were very confused at why this would be taking place at a church, at a youth event," he said.
"And we agree, it was inappropriate for this audience and there is really no excuse for why it happened."
Mr Dempsey said that the exercise was "completely his idea" and that many of the students "felt bad" after attacking him.
"I crossed the line, it was over the top, it was just not appropriate," he said, adding that no other church leaders were aware of the plan.
The church said a formal review and investigation into the incident are reportedly underway.
"Their findings and recommendations are going to be fully implemented," the statement read.