I'm on deck at NCC this weekend, so I am putting the finishing touches on my sermon. Earlier today, I discovered one of my preaching goals-- to preach in such a way that those who hear are driven to the Word of God to read it for themselves.
I think every person who preaches has two things: 1) A life message and 2) A preaching goal. Your life message is that one sermon that you could preach over and over and never tire of. It's the one message that seems to worm it's way into everything you preach. My life message revolves around the themes of destiny and the Body of Christ. Every time you hear me preach, those two things are going to get worked in somehow.
The preaching goal is a little different. The preaching goal is the inner drive that motivates the preacher every time they get before the congregation. For Mark Batterson, the goal is to communicate old truths in new ways. For Andy Stanley, the win is to make one big idea stick in the minds, mouths, and lives of his listeners. For me-- I want people to fall in love with the Word of God. When I walk off the stage, I want them to be so excited about the Word that they run home to tear into its pages. That goal frames the way I preach. I tend to spend more time in my sermons reading the Scriptures. But more importantly, I try to engage the Scriptures. I like to point out the stuff that's odd and ask questions of the text and dig out the drama of the Bible story that we have buried under years of intellectual dissection.
I think it's helpful for preachers to know and understand their goal as they approach sermon preparation. It will help them find their voice and help them prepare in a way that works best for them.