Mike, Christianity is not so much a religion as it is a relationship. Christianity is not primarily about reaching up to God through Christ; rather, it is about God reaching down to sinful humanity by becoming the God-man, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin and thus sinless. (Sin is passed on from generation to generation through the seed of the first man, Adam. Jesus was the last Adam. In Adam, all die. In Jesus Christ, those who believe, live. It's as simple--and as profound--as that. See )
Christianity, then, is Christ. It is a relationship with Christ and not a religion about Christ (though obviously, to become a Christian one needs to find out about the historical Jesus and what He said and did while He was on earth).
In short, there is something to believe and someone to receive. Two scriptures summarize the former and the latter (in that order):
"'THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART'--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:8,9).
"[Jesus] came to His own [people, the Jews], and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, [those] who were born . . . of God" (John 1:11-13).
You speak of "how worship is performed," and you ask about whether worship is a denominational thing. My answer is yes. How worship is performed varies from religion to religion, and from denomination to denomination. From God's perspective, however, what must not vary is whether or not people are worshiping Him according to truth.
If you haven't already, I recommend you read John chapter 4 and the account of "the woman at the well." Jesus broke a couple of taboos by even talking with this woman. First, she was a she(!), and rabbis in Jesus' day did not converse with women in public. Second, she was a Samaritan, and Jews considered all Samaritans to be half-breed outcasts and would go out of their way to avoid associating with Samaritans.
Jesus, however, was on a divine mission to seek and to save those who were lost, and on this particular day, unbeknownst to the woman, she had a divine appointment with the anointed One of God: Jesus, the Messiah!
Jesus asks her for a drink, as He doesn't have a pitcher to lower into the well where the woman had come to draw water. She came in the middle of the day because she had a "reputation" in her community as being "a woman of easy virtue"! She therefore avoided the gossipy women who came to draw water early in the morning when it was cooler. She gives Jesus a drink, and then Jesus throws her a curve by telling her about "living water" while all she can think of is "literal water."
Fast forward in the conversation to where the woman inserts a typical "religious" question into the conversation, which may have been only a red herring meant to avoid having to deal with her sins, which were now "front and center" in the conversation!
Her question also had to do with worship, Mike. Since the Samaritans worshiped God on Mt. Gerazim, and the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem, many miles away, the woman thought perhaps her question would stump Jesus. It didn't. He came right back to her with some interesting words:
"'Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth'" (vss.21-24).
Jesus was saying simply, it's not a matter of where you worship God as it is to worship God as He is, and not necessarily as any particular religion says He is. Many people from various religions and denominations think they are worshiping God, when in effect they are worshiping a false god, or what the Bible calls an idol. It's been said, somewhat humorously, that
"God created man in His own image, and man has been returning the favor ever since!"
God does not seek worshipers who want to worship a caricature of Himself; rather, He wants worshipers who worship Him in spirit and in truth. When we worship God in spirit, we are saying in effect, that it doesn't matter so much where or how or when we worship God; what matters is why we worship Him. As good as church attendance can be, potentially, our actually being the church is better by far. As important as worship within a community of faith can be, potentially, our individual worship of God is better by far, because we all come to God, first, as individuals who recognize God for who is really is (in truth).
The truth is, God is holy and we are sinners. He deserves worship, whereas we deserve His condemnation and judgment. The woman at the well recognized this truth, and I believe she was converted that very day. Why? Because she recognized who Jesus was. He was the Anointed One of God who came to earth to die for the sins of humankind and for her sins as well. That's why she not only believed in Jesus and in effect received Him into her life, but she also introduced her fellow Samaritans to the Savior as well. In other words, she confessed with her mouth that Jesus was Lord, and that He had exposed
her sin and had forgiven her sin, giving her a new lease on life, a life free from thirst for things that could never satisfy.
I encourage you, Mike, first to believe in Jesus. Belief is more than mere "head knowledge"; it goes far beyond that. To believe God is to trust confidently that when Jesus came into the world, it was to save sinners like you (and like me). To receive Jesus means that we entrust our very lives to the one who died for our sins, who shed His precious blood at the cross, was buried, and who then was resurrected by God so that we could be declared righteous, but only by being IN Jesus.
"If anyone is IN Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, and behold the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17, my emphasis).
To receive Jesus is a two-way street. When we invite Him, He not only comes into our life, but we are also put IN Him and in the goodness of all that He is and ever will be. Thereafter, when God looks at us, He sees us IN Christ. We have thus passed from death to life, through the One who said,
"'I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to Father except by me"(John 14:6).
Once we are IN Christ, our worship of God becomes not only possible, since we are now in a right relationship with God, but our worship of God becomes a way of life for us. To be IN Christ, means that He is now our king, our lord, and our master. With a heart of gratitude we want to please Him, to do His will, and to make His priorities our priorities.
In short, worship is a way of life in that it involves every aspect of our lives. If the greatest commandments are to
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength"
"Love your neighbor as yourself,"
then for as long as you have a heart, soul, mind, and strength--which is to say, all of your life, you'll want to love God and others, just as He loves you and gave Himself for you at the cross.
We express our love for God in four basic ways:
Worshiping, both individually and corporately with other believers. Regularly meeting together with other Christians and worshiping God together by praising Him, by being fed spiritually through the preaching and teaching of God's Word, the Bible, are an important part (perhaps the most important part) of being the church.
Growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we define grace as God's undeserved and unmerited favor shown to us, then we grow in grace when we put God first in every aspect of our lives. Frequently and regularly reading the Bible and praying to God are two disciplines that open us up to God's loving favor, and at the same time enable us to grow. To hunger and thirst for God by taking in His word, talking to Him, and listening to His Holy Spirit who now indwells us, are means of growth in grace and knowledge. We start with milk, and we then graduate to meat, all the while growing stronger in our faith.
Serving others through good deeds and through the exercising of our spiritual gift (and each believer in Jesus has a spiritual gift that is given to him or her by God) is a way of walking in the steps of Jesus, our role model, who Himself came to earth not to be served but to serve, and ultimately to give His life at the cross to set us free from the penalty and power of sin.
Sharing with others of the good things of God of which we ourselves have been recipients. The three "T's" of sharing are time, talent, and treasure. The ways in which we budget our time, express our talents, and spend our money are pretty accurate measures of our love for God and others. As we grow spiritually, we begin to realize that the sharing of ourselves with others is really just a way of imitating God's sharing with us: He gives unstintingly of His time and His loving, personalized attention; He makes available to us continually all that He is and all of the infinite resources at His disposal; and He imparts to us the very person of His Son, in whom are hidden all the treasures of both wisdom and knowledge and love:
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus, who though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).