Why do I recommend preachers have full sentence points? Or to put it another way – what is the problem with single-word points?
After all, a series of three or four single words can be memorable, both during the message and potentially after it. So why not just give single word “points” as the message progresses?
A single-word may convey a title, but it cannot convey an idea. A single word will tell the listeners something about what is going to be said, but it is not able to convey the idea in a nutshell. Why waste the opportunity to make a single sentence summary of the message content?
Single-word points tend to push the message toward information summary rather than transformational communication. Not always, but often, a single word will lean toward historical lecture material. The old idea of masses of explanation before any application is problematic. Why waste the opportunity to be relevant, targeted, personal at such a key moment in the message? Putting the points in full sentences that relate to us today can be very powerful. You can immediately go to the text and “back then” to see the support for the point, but you’re doing so with a sense of its relevance to us before you even get there.
Single-word points encourage a lack of cohesion within each point. If your “point” is a subject, then there is almost no end to what you could (and possibly will try to) say in this section of the message. If your point is a distilled summary of the applicational point (or the message of the text at that section), then there is automatically a control mechanism to avoid scattered thoughts that don’t cohere.
Preaching is oral communication, which consists of transmitting ideas. When we talk in conversation we make points, assertions, suggestions, encouragements, etc. in full sentences. We don’t naturally use single-word headings. This is a written communication approach. Whatever notes you may or may not be looking at, when you preach you are speaking. Why use literary approaches? Forcing yourself to think yourself clear at the level of the points in your message, making sure you can convey the thought in a clear sentence will only help your message communicate more effectively.
Incidentally, if you are still craving the mnemonic assistance of single word tags, you could always add them (or some shorthand approach) in the transitions and final summary. Having said that, remember that your goal is not for listeners to remember your outline, but to be transformed by the main idea of the text and its application to their lives.