2. “What am I trying to say?” [Purpose]
Purpose is basic and central in preaching. You need a well-understood, clearly articulated and biblically justifiable purpose for your message. It is on this that you plan and execute everything you do when you preach. Whatever you do in a sermon, you should do consciously and deliberately to achieve some purpose. Everything should have its objective and you ought to know what that is.
Your purpose may be to inform, to equip, convince, or to motivate. It addresses what people should learn, believe, disbelieve or do. What do you want them to know or do?
If you can't write the objective of your speech in a single sentence, then either you're trying to say too much or you don't know what you're talking about. If you don't know what you're aiming at, you'll be sure to hit it. You will never be effective unless you know exactly what you want to accomplish with your message and thoroughly plan your strategy for achieving that goal.
Prayerfully choose a subject, then a central theme, and then narrow that down to a clear objective. Most topical messages are either in the form of an obligation message – ‘You should …’ or an enabling message – ‘You can …’ The logical question for the first is ‘Why?’ while the obvious question in response to the second is ‘How?’ For example, you might speak a message with an objective of communicating the message ‘You should pray’ and then you’ll show people why. Or you might speak on ‘You can be free from worry’ and the message will teach people how.
Whatever you speak on, it is essential that you have a clear purpose for your message and a single objective that you are trying to accomplish. Everything you then do or say in your message needs to contribute to this overall goal.