My first line of duty is to meet people. The way you're supposed to do this, as a pastor, is just to show up on their doorstep and invite yourself in for a cup of tea (or whatever they want to give you) and a chat. I'm not that trusting so I call ahead. Can I come by and visit? Yes, okay, then, can you please give me turn-by-turn directions to your house? (these directions usually are more detailed than turn-by-turn -- they include such details as "the pasture on your left has two black steers in it, go past that one...")
And we sit and chat. I've heard about what it's like to grow up in a family of 13 kids... how hard it is to be a rancher and have a social life (So there we were! in our party clothes, in the field, digging out the frozen calfs and trying to get them into the house before they froze to death... we never made it to that party...) and about horses and dogs. This is the chit-chat stuff, the unimportant preliminaries, but to me it's the most fascinating. We also chat about the church and what's so great about it and what could be better. We've even ranged into interfaith discussions (this is not one of those monolithically conservative rural areas) -- can you be Christian and Buddhist at the same time? And we've discussed where (around here) I might find a good bellydancing class.
So far, so good =)