This chapter addresses the issue of Christian missions in the Middle East by departing from the figure of Western ‘missionaries’, which tends to obscure religious dynamics on the ground. After positing the Istanbul Evangelical circuit as a fragmented totality and missionary labour as unevenly divided among believers, we put forward hypotheses on this labour, based on an ethnography of Evangelicalism in Istanbul. Data suggests that missionary labour is not a profession, that it is a marginal activity, oriented towards Christian majority countries, and finally a political migration institution.
This article focuses on the division of religious labour according to both gender and marital situation, based on an ethnographic survey in a Pentecostal church with a mixed membership in Istanbul (Turkey). Following the description of religious labour throughout its six areas, this research shows that celibacy is made relatively invisible inside the church, where the emphasis is on conjugality and family, while the latter bonds are de-emphasised in the outside world, where singles are at the forefront. “Love” appears as a multifaceted reality, encompassing not only justifications but the very output of religious labour, inside and outside the faith community.