Could Usain Bolt help improve the church's image?

Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is viewed as the ideal Christian to improve the church's image. That's according to hundreds of Christians who took part in a survey for Premier Christian Radio.

Two thirds of participants in the C-Panel survey agreed the church needs a new image. About a fifth said they did not know, while just 14% thought the image of Christianity and the church was fine.

Some Christians believe that advertising with a high profile Christian would be the most effective way to promote the church in a positive light.

Just under half (45%) agreed that a well-known celebrity would aid an advertising campaign to improve the image of Christianity, although a third (34%) disagreed and a fifth (21%) were unsure.

Usain Bolt emerged as the favourite for this role, followed closely by Bear Grylls, Denzel Washington and David Suchet.

"Usain Bolt, however, has obviously attracted worldwide recognition and an international celebrity status following the 2012 Olympics so that it is interesting to see his name at the top of our listener poll as the ideal Christian to help promote the Christian Church," said Peter Kerridge, chief executive of Premier Christian Radio.

An astonishingly large number of Christians (85%) think the UK media represents the church negatively, with only 6% believing media representation within the UK is positive. Almost the same number (83%) think the church is unfairly represented in the UK media.

Around two in five Christians (42%) believe the new Archbishop Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, can improve the image of the church.

Despite a majority of Christians agreeing the Church needs a new image, only 22% think the church should spend money on advertising to this end.

"Christians are clearly disappointed with the image presented by the Christian church and believe it is both badly represented in the media and in need of a new profile," said Mr Kerridge.