Many of the buildings where Lutherans worshipped in Germany were originally Roman Catholic churches. When the movement began in northwest Germany, Luther found he had a large number of followers. Many of these followers chose to leave the Catholic denomination and took their buildings with them. That is one reason many Lutheran churches in Europe look the same as Catholic churches. When the Lutheran denomination spread throughout the world, their building methods sometimes differed.

While many Lutheran churches were built on the same templates as Catholic churches, not all of them followed this model. In some communities, building materials were scarce. The European model of stone churches was often abandoned because wood was a more plentiful building material. This is especially true in America. Most modern Lutheran churches are built of wood and have a steeple rather than a bell tower. Steep roofs are another feature of these churches. The slope of the roof is designed to allow snow to fall off rather than collapsing the building.