A related issue is this: should the faithful take notes of the sermon? I know there are some that take issue with the practice, but I can only guess as to why.
- The word was meant to be heard?
- Note-taking channels the impact of the preached word away from our heart onto the paper; so while we feel like we're attending to the word, we're actually protecting ourselves from it?
- While we're writing down one thing, we're missing the next?
I find note-taking helpful. It helps me to focus on what the preacher is saying. Some preachers I can follow without notes. They think like I do. Their sermons progress in a logical, outline-like fashion that proceeds directly from a primary Scripture text. I have no problem attending to such sermons.
Others' preaching takes different forms, and in some of those cases, attending is not always easy. Taking notes helps me to stay on task mentally.
(Incidentally, listening to the preached word with ears, mind, and humble heart is worship. The worship doesn't end when the music ends or the "Amen" is spoken. During the preaching, the worship should continue: the preacher worships as he preaches and the congregants worship as they humbly and expectantly attend to the preaching.)
Note-taking also aids my memory. I'm more likely to remember key points of the sermon if I write them down. And this is true even if I throw my notes away the next day (which is often the case). Instead of hearing the preached word and thinking about it, in note-taking I am hearing it, writing it down, reading what I wrote down, and thinking about it. Note-taking reinforces certain points.
Further, I keep some outlines out on my desk or in my Bible for a few weeks before they hit the trash. This occurs when an especial point really hits home, and I want to review it and think about it for a longer period of time.
Some Sundays I intentionally don't take sermons, in order to break up any rut in my attending to a sermon.
Should the faithful take notes during the preaching of the word? I don't think there's any "should" about it. You can if you like; it's not a moral issue. Note-taking is not obligatory. What is obligatory is reverent attending to the preaching of God's word.