"Our plan was to surprise them, and it worked," said Napier, who was on the bus. "They didn't have time to run, they didn't have time to start destroying evidence. The look on their faces when those officers rolled off the church bus and started taking control of the scene was priceless. It's like, 'Oh God, they've got me.'"
A second wave of police soon arrived in cruisers in the multi-agency bust.
If police had arrived in cruisers only, the suspects "would have hit the hills," Napier said.
"The church bus was an essential part of this arrest, period," he said.
Meth production is a big problem in West Virginia. Statewide, authorities have seized 370 meth labs since January.
Wilkinson said he has no regrets and would have offered up the bus again to help fight the area's drug problems.
"We've all been working hard, trying to get the drugs cleaned up around this area," he said. "I just thought it was a positive thing to do."
The bus was used for Christmas caroling by church members but had been parked for months without being used, he said.
Attendance has been down at the church, and Wilkinson said he had been thinking about stepping down as pastor even before the controversy surfaced.
"I'm a firm believer that, if God closes one door, he'll open another one," he said. "So I'm sure he's got something else for me to do."