Source: (2008) Urban Studies. 45(10): pg. 2117-2141.Christian churches have long been involved in responding to social need in New Zealand cities. Since the formation of city missions in the late 19th century, their engagements have variously encompassed emergency relief, social housing, orphanages and residential aged care. In recent years, the churches and their affi liated social service operations have also sought to intervene in the political and social processes that contribute to disadvantage in New Zealand. The article analyses this movement towards a more explicit concern for social justice, with specifi c reference to developments among a set of Christian social service organisations in the city of Christchurch between 1999 and 2006. Alongside transformations in local services, national lobbying to highlight the situation of disadvantaged social groups has been an important element of this transition. The analysis offers insights into the place of faith-based welfare organisations within socio-political settings that might be characterised as ‘third way’ or ‘after neo-liberalism’.